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The Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (originally in the London Review of Books, Vol.28 No. 6 March 23 2006)

Instead, the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby’. Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country – in this case, Israel – are essentially identical.

Since the October War in 1973, Washington has provided Israel with a level of support dwarfing that given to any other state. It has been the largest annual recipient of direct economic and military assistance since 1976, and is the largest recipient in total since World War Two, to the tune of well over $140 billion (in 2004 dollars). Israel receives about $3 billion in direct assistance each year, roughly one-fifth of the foreign aid budget, and worth about $500 a year for every Israeli. This largesse is especially striking since Israel is now a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income roughly equal to that of South Korea or Spain.

Other recipients get their money in quarterly installments, but Israel receives its entire appropriation at the beginning of each fiscal year and can thus earn interest on it. Most recipients of aid given for military purposes are required to spend all of it in the US, but Israel is allowed to use roughly 25 per cent of its allocation to subsidise its own defence industry. It is the only recipient that does not have to account for how the aid is spent, which makes it virtually impossible to prevent the money from being used for purposes the US opposes, such as building settlements on the West Bank. Moreover, the US has provided Israel with nearly $3 billion to develop weapons systems, and given it access to such top-drawer weaponry as Blackhawk helicopters and F-16 jets. Finally, the US gives Israel access to intelligence it denies to its Nato allies and has turned a blind eye to Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Washington also provides Israel with consistent diplomatic support. Since 1982, the US has vetoed 32 Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, more than the total number of vetoes cast by all the other Security Council members. It blocks the efforts of Arab states to put Israel’s nuclear arsenal on the IAEA’s agenda. The US comes to the rescue in wartime and takes Israel’s side when negotiating peace. The Nixon administration protected it from the threat of Soviet intervention and resupplied it during the October War. Washington was deeply involved in the negotiations that ended that war, as well as in the lengthy ‘step-by-step’ process that followed, just as it played a key role in the negotiations that preceded and followed the 1993 Oslo Accords. In each case there was occasional friction between US and Israeli officials, but the US consistently supported the Israeli position. One American participant at Camp David in 2000 later said: ‘Far too often, we functioned … as Israel’s lawyer.’ Finally, the Bush administration’s ambition to transform the Middle East is at least partly aimed at improving Israel’s strategic situation.

This extraordinary generosity might be understandable if Israel were a vital strategic asset or if there were a compelling moral case for US backing. But neither explanation is convincing. One might argue that Israel was an asset during the Cold War. By serving as America’s proxy after 1967, it helped contain Soviet expansion in the region and inflicted humiliating defeats on Soviet clients like Egypt and Syria. It occasionally helped protect other US allies (like King Hussein of Jordan) and its military prowess forced Moscow to spend more on backing its own client states. It also provided useful intelligence about Soviet capabilities.

Backing Israel was not cheap, however, and it complicated America’s relations with the Arab world. For example, the decision to give $2.2 billion in emergency military aid during the October War triggered an Opec oil embargo that inflicted considerable damage on Western economies. For all that, Israel’s armed forces were not in a position to protect US interests in the region. The US could not, for example, rely on Israel when the Iranian Revolution in 1979 raised concerns about the security of oil supplies, and had to create its own Rapid Deployment Force instead.

The first Gulf War revealed the extent to which Israel was becoming a strategic burden. The US could not use Israeli bases without rupturing the anti-Iraq coalition, and had to divert resources (e.g. Patriot missile batteries) to prevent Tel Aviv doing anything that might harm the alliance against Saddam Hussein. History repeated itself in 2003: although Israel was eager for the US to attack Iraq, Bush could not ask it to help without triggering Arab opposition. So Israel stayed on the sidelines once again.

Beginning in the 1990s, and even more after 9/11, US support has been justified by the claim that both states are threatened by terrorist groups originating in the Arab and Muslim world, and by ‘rogue states’ that back these groups and seek weapons of mass destruction. This is taken to mean not only that Washington should give Israel a free hand in dealing with the Palestinians and not press it to make concessions until all Palestinian terrorists are imprisoned or dead, but that the US should go after countries like Iran and Syria. Israel is thus seen as a crucial ally in the war on terror, because its enemies are America’s enemies. In fact, Israel is a liability in the war on terror and the broader effort to deal with rogue states.

‘Terrorism’ is not a single adversary, but a tactic employed by a wide array of political groups. The terrorist organisations that threaten Israel do not threaten the United States, except when it intervenes against them (as in Lebanon in 1982). Moreover, Palestinian terrorism is not random violence directed against Israel or ‘the West’; it is largely a response to Israel’s prolonged campaign to colonise the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

More important, saying that Israel and the US are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards: the US has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around. Support for Israel is not the only source of anti-American terrorism, but it is an important one, and it makes winning the war on terror more difficult. There is no question that many al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are motivated by Israel’s presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinians. Unconditional support for Israel makes it easier for extremists to rally popular support and to attract recruits.

As for so-called rogue states in the Middle East, they are not a dire threat to vital US interests, except inasmuch as they are a threat to Israel. Even if these states acquire nuclear weapons – which is obviously undesirable – neither America nor Israel could be blackmailed, because the blackmailer could not carry out the threat without suffering overwhelming retaliation. The danger of a nuclear handover to terrorists is equally remote, because a rogue state could not be sure the transfer would go undetected or that it would not be blamed and punished afterwards. The relationship with Israel actually makes it harder for the US to deal with these states. Israel’s nuclear arsenal is one reason some of its neighbours want nuclear weapons, and threatening them with regime change merely increases that desire.

A final reason to question Israel’s strategic value is that it does not behave like a loyal ally. Israeli officials frequently ignore US requests and renege on promises (including pledges to stop building settlements and to refrain from ‘targeted assassinations’ of Palestinian leaders). Israel has provided sensitive military technology to potential rivals like China, in what the State Department inspector-general called ‘a systematic and growing pattern of unauthorised transfers’. According to the General Accounting Office, Israel also ‘conducts the most aggressive espionage operations against the US of any ally’. In addition to the case of Jonathan Pollard, who gave Israel large quantities of classified material in the early 1980s (which it reportedly passed on to the Soviet Union in return for more exit visas for Soviet Jews), a new controversy erupted in 2004 when it was revealed that a key Pentagon official called Larry Franklin had passed classified information to an Israeli diplomat. Israel is hardly the only country that spies on the US, but its willingness to spy on its principal patron casts further doubt on its strategic value.

Israel’s strategic value isn’t the only issue. Its backers also argue that it deserves unqualified support because it is weak and surrounded by enemies; it is a democracy; the Jewish people have suffered from past crimes and therefore deserve special treatment; and Israel’s conduct has been morally superior to that of its adversaries. On close inspection, none of these arguments is persuasive. There is a strong moral case for supporting Israel’s existence, but that is not in jeopardy. Viewed objectively, its past and present conduct offers no moral basis for privileging it over the Palestinians.

Israel is often portrayed as David confronted by Goliath, but the converse is closer to the truth. Contrary to popular belief, the Zionists had larger, better equipped and better led forces during the 1947-49 War of Independence, and the Israel Defence Forces won quick and easy victories against Egypt in 1956 and against Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1967 – all of this before large-scale US aid began flowing. Today, Israel is the strongest military power in the Middle East. Its conventional forces are far superior to those of its neighbours and it is the only state in the region with nuclear weapons. Egypt and Jordan have signed peace treaties with it, and Saudi Arabia has offered to do so. Syria has lost its Soviet patron, Iraq has been devastated by three disastrous wars and Iran is hundreds of miles away. The Palestinians barely have an effective police force, let alone an army that could pose a threat to Israel. According to a 2005 assessment by Tel Aviv University’s Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies, ‘the strategic balance decidedly favours Israel, which has continued to widen the qualitative gap between its own military capability and deterrence powers and those of its neighbours.’ If backing the underdog were a compelling motive, the United States would be supporting Israel’s opponents.

That Israel is a fellow democracy surrounded by hostile dictatorships cannot account for the current level of aid: there are many democracies around the world, but none receives the same lavish support. The US has overthrown democratic governments in the past and supported dictators when this was thought to advance its interests – it has good relations with a number of dictatorships today.

Some aspects of Israeli democracy are at odds with core American values. Unlike the US, where people are supposed to enjoy equal rights irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity, Israel was explicitly founded as a Jewish state and citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship. Given this, it is not surprising that its 1.3 million Arabs are treated as second-class citizens, or that a recent Israeli government commission found that Israel behaves in a ‘neglectful and discriminatory’ manner towards them. Its democratic status is also undermined by its refusal to grant the Palestinians a viable state of their own or full political rights.

A third justification is the history of Jewish suffering in the Christian West, especially during the Holocaust. Because Jews were persecuted for centuries and could feel safe only in a Jewish homeland, many people now believe that Israel deserves special treatment from the United States. The country’s creation was undoubtedly an appropriate response to the long record of crimes against Jews, but it also brought about fresh crimes against a largely innocent third party: the Palestinians.

This was well understood by Israel’s early leaders. David Ben-Gurion told Nahum Goldmann, the president of the World Jewish Congress:

If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country … We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?

Since then, Israeli leaders have repeatedly sought to deny the Palestinians’ national ambitions. When she was prime minister, Golda Meir famously remarked that ‘there is no such thing as a Palestinian.’ Pressure from extremist violence and Palestinian population growth has forced subsequent Israeli leaders to disengage from the Gaza Strip and consider other territorial compromises, but not even Yitzhak Rabin was willing to offer the Palestinians a viable state. Ehud Barak’s purportedly generous offer at Camp David would have given them only a disarmed set of Bantustans under de facto Israeli control. The tragic history of the Jewish people does not obligate the US to help Israel today no matter what it does.

Israel’s backers also portray it as a country that has sought peace at every turn and shown great restraint even when provoked. The Arabs, by contrast, are said to have acted with great wickedness. Yet on the ground, Israel’s record is not distinguishable from that of its opponents. Ben-Gurion acknowledged that the early Zionists were far from benevolent towards the Palestinian Arabs, who resisted their encroachments – which is hardly surprising, given that the Zionists were trying to create their own state on Arab land. In the same way, the creation of Israel in 1947-48 involved acts of ethnic cleansing, including executions, massacres and rapes by Jews, and Israel’s subsequent conduct has often been brutal, belying any claim to moral superiority. Between 1949 and 1956, for example, Israeli security forces killed between 2700 and 5000 Arab infiltrators, the overwhelming majority of them unarmed. The IDF murdered hundreds of Egyptian prisoners of war in both the 1956 and 1967 wars, while in 1967, it expelled between 100,000 and 260,000 Palestinians from the newly conquered West Bank, and drove 80,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights.

During the first intifada, the IDF distributed truncheons to its troops and encouraged them to break the bones of Palestinian protesters. The Swedish branch of Save the Children estimated that ‘23,600 to 29,900 children required medical treatment for their beating injuries in the first two years of the intifada.’ Nearly a third of them were aged ten or under. The response to the second intifada has been even more violent, leading Ha’aretz to declare that ‘the IDF … is turning into a killing machine whose efficiency is awe-inspiring, yet shocking.’ The IDF fired one million bullets in the first days of the uprising. Since then, for every Israeli lost, Israel has killed 3.4 Palestinians, the majority of whom have been innocent bystanders; the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli children killed is even higher (5.7:1). It is also worth bearing in mind that the Zionists relied on terrorist bombs to drive the British from Palestine, and that Yitzhak Shamir, once a terrorist and later prime minister, declared that ‘neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat.’

The Palestinian resort to terrorism is wrong but it isn’t surprising. The Palestinians believe they have no other way to force Israeli concessions. As Ehud Barak once admitted, had he been born a Palestinian, he ‘would have joined a terrorist organisation’.

So if neither strategic nor moral arguments can account for America’s support for Israel, how are we to explain it?

The explanation is the unmatched power of the Israel Lobby. We use ‘the Lobby’ as shorthand for the loose coalition of individuals and organisations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. This is not meant to suggest that ‘the Lobby’ is a unified movement with a central leadership, or that individuals within it do not disagree on certain issues. Not all Jewish Americans are part of the Lobby, because Israel is not a salient issue for many of them. In a 2004 survey, for example, roughly 36 per cent of American Jews said they were either ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ emotionally attached to Israel.

Jewish Americans also differ on specific Israeli policies. Many of the key organisations in the Lobby, such as the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations, are run by hardliners who generally support the Likud Party’s expansionist policies, including its hostility to the Oslo peace process. The bulk of US Jewry, meanwhile, is more inclined to make concessions to the Palestinians, and a few groups – such as Jewish Voice for Peace – strongly advocate such steps. Despite these differences, moderates and hardliners both favour giving steadfast support to Israel.

Not surprisingly, American Jewish leaders often consult Israeli officials, to make sure that their actions advance Israeli goals. As one activist from a major Jewish organisation wrote, ‘it is routine for us to say: “This is our policy on a certain issue, but we must check what the Israelis think.” We as a community do it all the time.’ There is a strong prejudice against criticising Israeli policy, and putting pressure on Israel is considered out of order. Edgar Bronfman Sr, the president of the World Jewish Congress, was accused of ‘perfidy’ when he wrote a letter to President Bush in mid-2003 urging him to persuade Israel to curb construction of its controversial ‘security fence’. His critics said that ‘it would be obscene at any time for the president of the World Jewish Congress to lobby the president of the United States to resist policies being promoted by the government of Israel.’

Similarly, when the president of the Israel Policy Forum, Seymour Reich, advised Condoleezza Rice in November 2005 to ask Israel to reopen a critical border crossing in the Gaza Strip, his action was denounced as ‘irresponsible’: ‘There is,’ his critics said, ‘absolutely no room in the Jewish mainstream for actively canvassing against the security-related policies … of Israel.’ Recoiling from these attacks, Reich announced that ‘the word “pressure” is not in my vocabulary when it comes to Israel.’

Jewish Americans have set up an impressive array of organisations to influence American foreign policy, of which AIPAC is the most powerful and best known. In 1997, Fortune magazine asked members of Congress and their staffs to list the most powerful lobbies in Washington. AIPAC was ranked second behind the American Association of Retired People, but ahead of the AFL-CIO and the National Rifle Association. A National Journal study in March 2005 reached a similar conclusion, placing AIPAC in second place (tied with AARP) in the Washington ‘muscle rankings’.

The Lobby also includes prominent Christian evangelicals like Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson, as well as Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, former majority leaders in the House of Representatives, all of whom believe Israel’s rebirth is the fulfilment of biblical prophecy and support its expansionist agenda; to do otherwise, they believe, would be contrary to God’s will. Neo-conservative gentiles such as John Bolton; Robert Bartley, the former Wall Street Journal editor; William Bennett, the former secretary of education; Jeane Kirkpatrick, the former UN ambassador; and the influential columnist George Will are also steadfast supporters.

The US form of government offers activists many ways of influencing the policy process. Interest groups can lobby elected representatives and members of the executive branch, make campaign contributions, vote in elections, try to mould public opinion etc. They enjoy a disproportionate amount of influence when they are committed to an issue to which the bulk of the population is indifferent. Policymakers will tend to accommodate those who care about the issue, even if their numbers are small, confident that the rest of the population will not penalise them for doing so.

In its basic operations, the Israel Lobby is no different from the farm lobby, steel or textile workers’ unions, or other ethnic lobbies. There is nothing improper about American Jews and their Christian allies attempting to sway US policy: the Lobby’s activities are not a conspiracy of the sort depicted in tracts like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. For the most part, the individuals and groups that comprise it are only doing what other special interest groups do, but doing it very much better. By contrast, pro-Arab interest groups, in so far as they exist at all, are weak, which makes the Israel Lobby’s task even easier.

The Lobby pursues two broad strategies. First, it wields its significant influence in Washington, pressuring both Congress and the executive branch. Whatever an individual lawmaker or policymaker’s own views may be, the Lobby tries to make supporting Israel the ‘smart’ choice. Second, it strives to ensure that public discourse portrays Israel in a positive light, by repeating myths about its founding and by promoting its point of view in policy debates. The goal is to prevent critical comments from getting a fair hearing in the political arena. Controlling the debate is essential to guaranteeing US support, because a candid discussion of US-Israeli relations might lead Americans to favour a different policy.

A key pillar of the Lobby’s effectiveness is its influence in Congress, where Israel is virtually immune from criticism. This in itself is remarkable, because Congress rarely shies away from contentious issues. Where Israel is concerned, however, potential critics fall silent. One reason is that some key members are Christian Zionists like Dick Armey, who said in September 2002: ‘My No. 1 priority in foreign policy is to protect Israel.’ One might think that the No. 1 priority for any congressman would be to protect America. There are also Jewish senators and congressmen who work to ensure that US foreign policy supports Israel’s interests.

Another source of the Lobby’s power is its use of pro-Israel congressional staffers. As Morris Amitay, a former head of AIPAC, once admitted, ‘there are a lot of guys at the working level up here’ – on Capitol Hill – ‘who happen to be Jewish, who are willing … to look at certain issues in terms of their Jewishness … These are all guys who are in a position to make the decision in these areas for those senators … You can get an awful lot done just at the staff level.’

AIPAC itself, however, forms the core of the Lobby’s influence in Congress. Its success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it. Money is critical to US elections (as the scandal over the lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s shady dealings reminds us), and AIPAC makes sure that its friends get strong financial support from the many pro-Israel political action committees. Anyone who is seen as hostile to Israel can be sure that AIPAC will direct campaign contributions to his or her political opponents. AIPAC also organises letter-writing campaigns and encourages newspaper editors to endorse pro-Israel candidates.

There is no doubt about the efficacy of these tactics. Here is one example: in the 1984 elections, AIPAC helped defeat Senator Charles Percy from Illinois, who, according to a prominent Lobby figure, had ‘displayed insensitivity and even hostility to our concerns’. Thomas Dine, the head of AIPAC at the time, explained what happened: ‘All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And the American politicians – those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire – got the message.’

AIPAC’s influence on Capitol Hill goes even further. According to Douglas Bloomfield, a former AIPAC staff member, ‘it is common for members of Congress and their staffs to turn to AIPAC first when they need information, before calling the Library of Congress, the Congressional Research Service, committee staff or administration experts.’ More important, he notes that AIPAC is ‘often called on to draft speeches, work on legislation, advise on tactics, perform research, collect co-sponsors and marshal votes’.

The bottom line is that AIPAC, a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on Congress, with the result that US policy towards Israel is not debated there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world. In other words, one of the three main branches of the government is firmly committed to supporting Israel. As one former Democratic senator, Ernest Hollings, noted on leaving office, ‘you can’t have an Israeli policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here.’ Or as Ariel Sharon once told an American audience, ‘when people ask me how they can help Israel, I tell them: “Help AIPAC.”’

Thanks in part to the influence Jewish voters have on presidential elections, the Lobby also has significant leverage over the executive branch. Although they make up fewer than 3 per cent of the population, they make large campaign donations to candidates from both parties. The Washington Post once estimated that Democratic presidential candidates ‘depend on Jewish supporters to supply as much as 60 per cent of the money’. And because Jewish voters have high turn-out rates and are concentrated in key states like California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania, presidential candidates go to great lengths not to antagonise them.

Key organisations in the Lobby make it their business to ensure that critics of Israel do not get important foreign policy jobs. Jimmy Carter wanted to make George Ball his first secretary of state, but knew that Ball was seen as critical of Israel and that the Lobby would oppose the appointment. In this way any aspiring policymaker is encouraged to become an overt supporter of Israel, which is why public critics of Israeli policy have become an endangered species in the foreign policy establishment.

When Howard Dean called for the United States to take a more ‘even-handed role’ in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Senator Joseph Lieberman accused him of selling Israel down the river and said his statement was ‘irresponsible’. Virtually all the top Democrats in the House signed a letter criticising Dean’s remarks, and the Chicago Jewish Star reported that ‘anonymous attackers … are clogging the email inboxes of Jewish leaders around the country, warning – without much evidence – that Dean would somehow be bad for Israel.’

This worry was absurd; Dean is in fact quite hawkish on Israel: his campaign co-chair was a former AIPAC president, and Dean said his own views on the Middle East more closely reflected those of AIPAC than those of the more moderate Americans for Peace Now. He had merely suggested that to ‘bring the sides together’, Washington should act as an honest broker. This is hardly a radical idea, but the Lobby doesn’t tolerate even-handedness.

During the Clinton administration, Middle Eastern policy was largely shaped by officials with close ties to Israel or to prominent pro-Israel organisations; among them, Martin Indyk, the former deputy director of research at AIPAC and co-founder of the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP); Dennis Ross, who joined WINEP after leaving government in 2001; and Aaron Miller, who has lived in Israel and often visits the country. These men were among Clinton’s closest advisers at the Camp David summit in July 2000. Although all three supported the Oslo peace process and favoured the creation of a Palestinian state, they did so only within the limits of what would be acceptable to Israel. The American delegation took its cues from Ehud Barak, co-ordinated its negotiating positions with Israel in advance, and did not offer independent proposals. Not surprisingly, Palestinian negotiators complained that they were ‘negotiating with two Israeli teams – one displaying an Israeli flag, and one an American flag’.

The situation is even more pronounced in the Bush administration, whose ranks have included such fervent advocates of the Israeli cause as Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, I. Lewis (‘Scooter’) Libby, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and David Wurmser. As we shall see, these officials have consistently pushed for policies favoured by Israel and backed by organisations in the Lobby.

The Lobby doesn’t want an open debate, of course, because that might lead Americans to question the level of support they provide. Accordingly, pro-Israel organisations work hard to influence the institutions that do most to shape popular opinion.

The Lobby’s perspective prevails in the mainstream media: the debate among Middle East pundits, the journalist Eric Alterman writes, is ‘dominated by people who cannot imagine criticising Israel’. He lists 61 ‘columnists and commentators who can be counted on to support Israel reflexively and without qualification’. Conversely, he found just five pundits who consistently criticise Israeli actions or endorse Arab positions. Newspapers occasionally publish guest op-eds challenging Israeli policy, but the balance of opinion clearly favours the other side. It is hard to imagine any mainstream media outlet in the United States publishing a piece like this one.

‘Shamir, Sharon, Bibi – whatever those guys want is pretty much fine by me,’ Robert Bartley once remarked. Not surprisingly, his newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, along with other prominent papers like the Chicago Sun-Times and the Washington Times, regularly runs editorials that strongly support Israel. Magazines like Commentary, the New Republic and the Weekly Standard defend Israel at every turn.

Editorial bias is also found in papers like the New York Times, which occasionally criticises Israeli policies and sometimes concedes that the Palestinians have legitimate grievances, but is not even-handed. In his memoirs the paper’s former executive editor Max Frankel acknowledges the impact his own attitude had on his editorial decisions: ‘I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert … Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognised, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective.’

News reports are more even-handed, in part because reporters strive to be objective, but also because it is difficult to cover events in the Occupied Territories without acknowledging Israel’s actions on the ground. To discourage unfavourable reporting, the Lobby organises letter-writing campaigns, demonstrations and boycotts of news outlets whose content it considers anti-Israel. One CNN executive has said that he sometimes gets 6000 email messages in a single day complaining about a story. In May 2003, the pro-Israel Committee for Accurate Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) organised demonstrations outside National Public Radio stations in 33 cities; it also tried to persuade contributors to withhold support from NPR until its Middle East coverage becomes more sympathetic to Israel. Boston’s NPR station, WBUR, reportedly lost more than $1 million in contributions as a result of these efforts. Further pressure on NPR has come from Israel’s friends in Congress, who have asked for an internal audit of its Middle East coverage as well as more oversight.

The Israeli side also dominates the think tanks which play an important role in shaping public debate as well as actual policy. The Lobby created its own think tank in 1985, when Martin Indyk helped to found WINEP. Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel, claiming instead to provide a ‘balanced and realistic’ perspective on Middle East issues, it is funded and run by individuals deeply committed to advancing Israel’s agenda.

The Lobby’s influence extends well beyond WINEP, however. Over the past 25 years, pro-Israel forces have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks employ few, if any, critics of US support for Israel.

Take the Brookings Institution. For many years, its senior expert on the Middle East was William Quandt, a former NSC official with a well-deserved reputation for even-handedness. Today, Brookings’s coverage is conducted through the Saban Center for Middle East Studies, which is financed by Haim Saban, an Israeli-American businessman and ardent Zionist. The centre’s director is the ubiquitous Martin Indyk. What was once a non-partisan policy institute is now part of the pro-Israel chorus.

Where the Lobby has had the most difficulty is in stifling debate on university campuses. In the 1990s, when the Oslo peace process was underway, there was only mild criticism of Israel, but it grew stronger with Oslo’s collapse and Sharon’s access to power, becoming quite vociferous when the IDF reoccupied the West Bank in spring 2002 and employed massive force to subdue the second intifada.

The Lobby moved immediately to ‘take back the campuses’. New groups sprang up, like the Caravan for Democracy, which brought Israeli speakers to US colleges. Established groups like the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Hillel joined in, and a new group, the Israel on Campus Coalition, was formed to co-ordinate the many bodies that now sought to put Israel’s case. Finally, AIPAC more than tripled its spending on programmes to monitor university activities and to train young advocates, in order to ‘vastly expand the number of students involved on campus … in the national pro-Israel effort’.

The Lobby also monitors what professors write and teach. In September 2002, Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes, two passionately pro-Israel neo-conservatives, established a website (Campus Watch) that posted dossiers on suspect academics and encouraged students to report remarks or behaviour that might be considered hostile to Israel. This transparent attempt to blacklist and intimidate scholars provoked a harsh reaction and Pipes and Kramer later removed the dossiers, but the website still invites students to report ‘anti-Israel’ activity.

Groups within the Lobby put pressure on particular academics and universities. Columbia has been a frequent target, no doubt because of the presence of the late Edward Said on its faculty. ‘One can be sure that any public statement in support of the Palestinian people by the pre-eminent literary critic Edward Said will elicit hundreds of emails, letters and journalistic accounts that call on us to denounce Said and to either sanction or fire him,’ Jonathan Cole, its former provost, reported. When Columbia recruited the historian Rashid Khalidi from Chicago, the same thing happened. It was a problem Princeton also faced a few years later when it considered wooing Khalidi away from Columbia.

A classic illustration of the effort to police academia occurred towards the end of 2004, when the David Project produced a film alleging that faculty members of Columbia’s Middle East Studies programme were anti-semitic and were intimidating Jewish students who stood up for Israel. Columbia was hauled over the coals, but a faculty committee which was assigned to investigate the charges found no evidence of anti-semitism and the only incident possibly worth noting was that one professor had ‘responded heatedly’ to a student’s question. The committee also discovered that the academics in question had themselves been the target of an overt campaign of intimidation.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of all this is the efforts Jewish groups have made to push Congress into establishing mechanisms to monitor what professors say. If they manage to get this passed, universities judged to have an anti-Israel bias would be denied federal funding. Their efforts have not yet succeeded, but they are an indication of the importance placed on controlling debate.

A number of Jewish philanthropists have recently established Israel Studies programmes (in addition to the roughly 130 Jewish Studies programmes already in existence) so as to increase the number of Israel-friendly scholars on campus. In May 2003, NYU announced the establishment of the Taub Center for Israel Studies; similar programmes have been set up at Berkeley, Brandeis and Emory. Academic administrators emphasise their pedagogical value, but the truth is that they are intended in large part to promote Israel’s image. Fred Laffer, the head of the Taub Foundation, makes it clear that his foundation funded the NYU centre to help counter the ‘Arabic [sic] point of view’ that he thinks is prevalent in NYU’s Middle East programmes.

No discussion of the Lobby would be complete without an examination of one of its most powerful weapons: the charge of anti-semitism. Anyone who criticises Israel’s actions or argues that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over US Middle Eastern policy – an influence AIPAC celebrates – stands a good chance of being labelled an anti-semite. Indeed, anyone who merely claims that there is an Israel Lobby runs the risk of being charged with anti-semitism, even though the Israeli media refer to America’s ‘Jewish Lobby’. In other words, the Lobby first boasts of its influence and then attacks anyone who calls attention to it. It’s a very effective tactic: anti-semitism is something no one wants to be accused of.

Europeans have been more willing than Americans to criticise Israeli policy, which some people attribute to a resurgence of anti-semitism in Europe. We are ‘getting to a point’, the US ambassador to the EU said in early 2004, ‘where it is as bad as it was in the 1930s’. Measuring anti-semitism is a complicated matter, but the weight of evidence points in the opposite direction. In the spring of 2004, when accusations of European anti-semitism filled the air in America, separate surveys of European public opinion conducted by the US-based Anti-Defamation League and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that it was in fact declining. In the 1930s, by contrast, anti-semitism was not only widespread among Europeans of all classes but considered quite acceptable.

The Lobby and its friends often portray France as the most anti-semitic country in Europe. But in 2003, the head of the French Jewish community said that ‘France is not more anti-semitic than America.’ According to a recent article in Ha’aretz, the French police have reported that anti-semitic incidents declined by almost 50 per cent in 2005; and this even though France has the largest Muslim population of any European country. Finally, when a French Jew was murdered in Paris last month by a Muslim gang, tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets to condemn anti-semitism. Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin both attended the victim’s memorial service to show their solidarity.

No one would deny that there is anti-semitism among European Muslims, some of it provoked by Israel’s conduct towards the Palestinians and some of it straightforwardly racist. But this is a separate matter with little bearing on whether or not Europe today is like Europe in the 1930s. Nor would anyone deny that there are still some virulent autochthonous anti-semites in Europe (as there are in the United States) but their numbers are small and their views are rejected by the vast majority of Europeans.

Israel’s advocates, when pressed to go beyond mere assertion, claim that there is a ‘new anti-semitism’, which they equate with criticism of Israel. In other words, criticise Israeli policy and you are by definition an anti-semite. When the synod of the Church of England recently voted to divest from Caterpillar Inc on the grounds that it manufactures the bulldozers used by the Israelis to demolish Palestinian homes, the Chief Rabbi complained that this would ‘have the most adverse repercussions on … Jewish-Christian relations in Britain’, while Rabbi Tony Bayfield, the head of the Reform movement, said: ‘There is a clear problem of anti-Zionist – verging on anti-semitic – attitudes emerging in the grass-roots, and even in the middle ranks of the Church.’ But the Church was guilty merely of protesting against Israeli government policy.

Critics are also accused of holding Israel to an unfair standard or questioning its right to exist. But these are bogus charges too. Western critics of Israel hardly ever question its right to exist: they question its behaviour towards the Palestinians, as do Israelis themselves. Nor is Israel being judged unfairly. Israeli treatment of the Palestinians elicits criticism because it is contrary to widely accepted notions of human rights, to international law and to the principle of national self-determination. And it is hardly the only state that has faced sharp criticism on these grounds.

In the autumn of 2001, and especially in the spring of 2002, the Bush administration tried to reduce anti-American sentiment in the Arab world and undermine support for terrorist groups like al-Qaida by halting Israel’s expansionist policies in the Occupied Territories and advocating the creation of a Palestinian state. Bush had very significant means of persuasion at his disposal. He could have threatened to reduce economic and diplomatic support for Israel, and the American people would almost certainly have supported him. A May 2003 poll reported that more than 60 per cent of Americans were willing to withhold aid if Israel resisted US pressure to settle the conflict, and that number rose to 70 per cent among the ‘politically active’. Indeed, 73 per cent said that the United States should not favour either side.

Yet the administration failed to change Israeli policy, and Washington ended up backing it. Over time, the administration also adopted Israel’s own justifications of its position, so that US rhetoric began to mimic Israeli rhetoric. By February 2003, a Washington Post headline summarised the situation: ‘Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical on Mideast Policy.’ The main reason for this switch was the Lobby.

The story begins in late September 2001, when Bush began urging Sharon to show restraint in the Occupied Territories. He also pressed him to allow Israel’s foreign minister, Shimon Peres, to meet with Yasser Arafat, even though he (Bush) was highly critical of Arafat’s leadership. Bush even said publicly that he supported the creation of a Palestinian state. Alarmed, Sharon accused him of trying ‘to appease the Arabs at our expense’, warning that Israel ‘will not be Czechoslovakia’.

Bush was reportedly furious at being compared to Chamberlain, and the White House press secretary called Sharon’s remarks ‘unacceptable’. Sharon offered a pro forma apology, but quickly joined forces with the Lobby to persuade the administration and the American people that the United States and Israel faced a common threat from terrorism. Israeli officials and Lobby representatives insisted that there was no real difference between Arafat and Osama bin Laden: the United States and Israel, they said, should isolate the Palestinians’ elected leader and have nothing to do with him.

The Lobby also went to work in Congress. On 16 November, 89 senators sent Bush a letter praising him for refusing to meet with Arafat, but also demanding that the US not restrain Israel from retaliating against the Palestinians; the administration, they wrote, must state publicly that it stood behind Israel. According to the New York Times, the letter ‘stemmed’ from a meeting two weeks before between ‘leaders of the American Jewish community and key senators’, adding that AIPAC was ‘particularly active in providing advice on the letter’.

By late November, relations between Tel Aviv and Washington had improved considerably. This was thanks in part to the Lobby’s efforts, but also to America’s initial victory in Afghanistan, which reduced the perceived need for Arab support in dealing with al-Qaida. Sharon visited the White House in early December and had a friendly meeting with Bush.

In April 2002 trouble erupted again, after the IDF launched Operation Defensive Shield and resumed control of virtually all the major Palestinian areas on the West Bank. Bush knew that Israel’s actions would damage America’s image in the Islamic world and undermine the war on terrorism, so he demanded that Sharon ‘halt the incursions and begin withdrawal’. He underscored this message two days later, saying he wanted Israel to ‘withdraw without delay’. On 7 April, Condoleezza Rice, then Bush’s national security adviser, told reporters: ‘“Without delay” means without delay. It means now.’ That same day Colin Powell set out for the Middle East to persuade all sides to stop fighting and start negotiating.

Israel and the Lobby swung into action. Pro-Israel officials in the vice-president’s office and the Pentagon, as well as neo-conservative pundits like Robert Kagan and William Kristol, put the heat on Powell. They even accused him of having ‘virtually obliterated the distinction between terrorists and those fighting terrorists’. Bush himself was being pressed by Jewish leaders and Christian evangelicals. Tom DeLay and Dick Armey were especially outspoken about the need to support Israel, and DeLay and the Senate minority leader, Trent Lott, visited the White House and warned Bush to back off.

The first sign that Bush was caving in came on 11 April – a week after he told Sharon to withdraw his forces – when the White House press secretary said that the president believed Sharon was ‘a man of peace’. Bush repeated this statement publicly on Powell’s return from his abortive mission, and told reporters that Sharon had responded satisfactorily to his call for a full and immediate withdrawal. Sharon had done no such thing, but Bush was no longer willing to make an issue of it.

Meanwhile, Congress was also moving to back Sharon. On 2 May, it overrode the administration’s objections and passed two resolutions reaffirming support for Israel. (The Senate vote was 94 to 2; the House of Representatives version passed 352 to 21.) Both resolutions held that the United States ‘stands in solidarity with Israel’ and that the two countries were, to quote the House resolution, ‘now engaged in a common struggle against terrorism’. The House version also condemned ‘the ongoing support and co-ordination of terror by Yasser Arafat’, who was portrayed as a central part of the terrorism problem. Both resolutions were drawn up with the help of the Lobby. A few days later, a bipartisan congressional delegation on a fact-finding mission to Israel stated that Sharon should resist US pressure to negotiate with Arafat. On 9 May, a House appropriations subcommittee met to consider giving Israel an extra $200 million to fight terrorism. Powell opposed the package, but the Lobby backed it and Powell lost.

In short, Sharon and the Lobby took on the president of the United States and triumphed. Hemi Shalev, a journalist on the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv, reported that Sharon’s aides ‘could not hide their satisfaction in view of Powell’s failure. Sharon saw the whites of President Bush’s eyes, they bragged, and the president blinked first.’ But it was Israel’s champions in the United States, not Sharon or Israel, that played the key role in defeating Bush.

The situation has changed little since then. The Bush administration refused ever again to have dealings with Arafat. After his death, it embraced the new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, but has done little to help him. Sharon continued to develop his plan to impose a unilateral settlement on the Palestinians, based on ‘disengagement’ from Gaza coupled with continued expansion on the West Bank. By refusing to negotiate with Abbas and making it impossible for him to deliver tangible benefits to the Palestinian people, Sharon’s strategy contributed directly to Hamas’s electoral victory. With Hamas in power, however, Israel has another excuse not to negotiate. The US administration has supported Sharon’s actions (and those of his successor, Ehud Olmert). Bush has even endorsed unilateral Israeli annexations in the Occupied Territories, reversing the stated policy of every president since Lyndon Johnson.

US officials have offered mild criticisms of a few Israeli actions, but have done little to help create a viable Palestinian state. Sharon has Bush ‘wrapped around his little finger’, the former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft said in October 2004. If Bush tries to distance the US from Israel, or even criticises Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories, he is certain to face the wrath of the Lobby and its supporters in Congress. Democratic presidential candidates understand that these are facts of life, which is the reason John Kerry went to great lengths to display unalloyed support for Israel in 2004, and why Hillary Clinton is doing the same thing today.

Maintaining US support for Israel’s policies against the Palestinians is essential as far as the Lobby is concerned, but its ambitions do not stop there. It also wants America to help Israel remain the dominant regional power. The Israeli government and pro-Israel groups in the United States have worked together to shape the administration’s policy towards Iraq, Syria and Iran, as well as its grand scheme for reordering the Middle East.

Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure. According to Philip Zelikow, a former member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, the ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The ‘unstated threat’ was the ‘threat against Israel’, Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002. ‘The American government,’ he added, ‘doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.’

On 16 August 2002, 11 days before Dick Cheney kicked off the campaign for war with a hardline speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Washington Post reported that ‘Israel is urging US officials not to delay a military strike against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.’ By this point, according to Sharon, strategic co-ordination between Israel and the US had reached ‘unprecedented dimensions’, and Israeli intelligence officials had given Washington a variety of alarming reports about Iraq’s WMD programmes. As one retired Israeli general later put it, ‘Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq’s non-conventional capabilities.’

Israeli leaders were deeply distressed when Bush decided to seek Security Council authorisation for war, and even more worried when Saddam agreed to let UN inspectors back in. ‘The campaign against Saddam Hussein is a must,’ Shimon Peres told reporters in September 2002. ‘Inspections and inspectors are good for decent people, but dishonest people can overcome easily inspections and inspectors.’

At the same time, Ehud Barak wrote a New York Times op-ed warning that ‘the greatest risk now lies in inaction.’ His predecessor as prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, published a similar piece in the Wall Street Journal, entitled: ‘The Case for Toppling Saddam’. ‘Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do,’ he declared. ‘I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a pre-emptive strike against Saddam’s regime.’ Or as Ha’aretz reported in February 2003, ‘the military and political leadership yearns for war in Iraq.’

As Netanyahu suggested, however, the desire for war was not confined to Israel’s leaders. Apart from Kuwait, which Saddam invaded in 1990, Israel was the only country in the world where both politicians and public favoured war. As the journalist Gideon Levy observed at the time, ‘Israel is the only country in the West whose leaders support the war unreservedly and where no alternative opinion is voiced.’ In fact, Israelis were so gung-ho that their allies in America told them to damp down their rhetoric, or it would look as if the war would be fought on Israel’s behalf.

Within the US, the main driving force behind the war was a small band of neo-conservatives, many with ties to Likud. But leaders of the Lobby’s major organisations lent their voices to the campaign. ‘As President Bush attempted to sell the … war in Iraq,’ the Forward reported, ‘America’s most important Jewish organisations rallied as one to his defence. In statement after statement community leaders stressed the need to rid the world of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.’ The editorial goes on to say that ‘concern for Israel’s safety rightfully factored into the deliberations of the main Jewish groups.’

Although neo-conservatives and other Lobby leaders were eager to invade Iraq, the broader American Jewish community was not. Just after the war started, Samuel Freedman reported that ‘a compilation of nationwide opinion polls by the Pew Research Center shows that Jews are less supportive of the Iraq war than the population at large, 52 per cent to 62 per cent.’ Clearly, it would be wrong to blame the war in Iraq on ‘Jewish influence’. Rather, it was due in large part to the Lobby’s influence, especially that of the neo-conservatives within it.

The neo-conservatives had been determined to topple Saddam even before Bush became president. They caused a stir early in 1998 by publishing two open letters to Clinton, calling for Saddam’s removal from power. The signatories, many of whom had close ties to pro-Israel groups like JINSA or WINEP, and who included Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Bernard Lewis, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, had little trouble persuading the Clinton administration to adopt the general goal of ousting Saddam. But they were unable to sell a war to achieve that objective. They were no more able to generate enthusiasm for invading Iraq in the early months of the Bush administration. They needed help to achieve their aim. That help arrived with 9/11. Specifically, the events of that day led Bush and Cheney to reverse course and become strong proponents of a preventive war.

At a key meeting with Bush at Camp David on 15 September, Wolfowitz advocated attacking Iraq before Afghanistan, even though there was no evidence that Saddam was involved in the attacks on the US and bin Laden was known to be in Afghanistan. Bush rejected his advice and chose to go after Afghanistan instead, but war with Iraq was now regarded as a serious possibility and on 21 November the president charged military planners with developing concrete plans for an invasion.

Other neo-conservatives were meanwhile at work in the corridors of power. We don’t have the full story yet, but scholars like Bernard Lewis of Princeton and Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins reportedly played important roles in persuading Cheney that war was the best option, though neo-conservatives on his staff – Eric Edelman, John Hannah and Scooter Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff and one of the most powerful individuals in the administration – also played their part. By early 2002 Cheney had persuaded Bush; and with Bush and Cheney on board, war was inevitable.

Outside the administration, neo-conservative pundits lost no time in making the case that invading Iraq was essential to winning the war on terrorism. Their efforts were designed partly to keep up the pressure on Bush, and partly to overcome opposition to the war inside and outside the government. On 20 September, a group of prominent neo-conservatives and their allies published another open letter: ‘Even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack,’ it read, ‘any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.’ The letter also reminded Bush that ‘Israel has been and remains America’s staunchest ally against international terrorism.’ In the 1 October issue of the Weekly Standard, Robert Kagan and William Kristol called for regime change in Iraq as soon as the Taliban was defeated. That same day, Charles Krauthammer argued in the Washington Post that after the US was done with Afghanistan, Syria should be next, followed by Iran and Iraq: ‘The war on terrorism will conclude in Baghdad,’ when we finish off ‘the most dangerous terrorist regime in the world’.

This was the beginning of an unrelenting public relations campaign to win support for an invasion of Iraq, a crucial part of which was the manipulation of intelligence in such a way as to make it seem as if Saddam posed an imminent threat. For example, Libby pressured CIA analysts to find evidence supporting the case for war and helped prepare Colin Powell’s now discredited briefing to the UN Security Council. Within the Pentagon, the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group was charged with finding links between al-Qaida and Iraq that the intelligence community had supposedly missed. Its two key members were David Wurmser, a hard-core neo-conservative, and Michael Maloof, a Lebanese-American with close ties to Perle. Another Pentagon group, the so-called Office of Special Plans, was given the task of uncovering evidence that could be used to sell the war. It was headed by Abram Shulsky, a neo-conservative with long-standing ties to Wolfowitz, and its ranks included recruits from pro-Israel think tanks. Both these organisations were created after 9/11 and reported directly to Douglas Feith.

Like virtually all the neo-conservatives, Feith is deeply committed to Israel; he also has long-term ties to Likud. He wrote articles in the 1990s supporting the settlements and arguing that Israel should retain the Occupied Territories. More important, along with Perle and Wurmser, he wrote the famous ‘Clean Break’ report in June 1996 for Netanyahu, who had just become prime minister. Among other things, it recommended that Netanyahu ‘focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq – an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right’. It also called for Israel to take steps to reorder the entire Middle East. Netanyahu did not follow their advice, but Feith, Perle and Wurmser were soon urging the Bush administration to pursue those same goals. The Ha’aretz columnist Akiva Eldar warned that Feith and Perle ‘are walking a fine line between their loyalty to American governments … and Israeli interests’.

Wolfowitz is equally committed to Israel. The Forward once described him as ‘the most hawkishly pro-Israel voice in the administration’, and selected him in 2002 as first among 50 notables who ‘have consciously pursued Jewish activism’. At about the same time, JINSA gave Wolfowitz its Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award for promoting a strong partnership between Israel and the United States; and the Jerusalem Post, describing him as ‘devoutly pro-Israel’, named him ‘Man of the Year’ in 2003.

Finally, a brief word is in order about the neo-conservatives’ prewar support of Ahmed Chalabi, the unscrupulous Iraqi exile who headed the Iraqi National Congress. They backed Chalabi because he had established close ties with Jewish-American groups and had pledged to foster good relations with Israel once he gained power. This was precisely what pro-Israel proponents of regime change wanted to hear. Matthew Berger laid out the essence of the bargain in the Jewish Journal: ‘The INC saw improved relations as a way to tap Jewish influence in Washington and Jerusalem and to drum up increased support for its cause. For their part, the Jewish groups saw an opportunity to pave the way for better relations between Israel and Iraq, if and when the INC is involved in replacing Saddam Hussein’s regime.’

Given the neo-conservatives’ devotion to Israel, their obsession with Iraq, and their influence in the Bush administration, it isn’t surprising that many Americans suspected that the war was designed to further Israeli interests. Last March, Barry Jacobs of the American Jewish Committee acknowledged that the belief that Israel and the neo-conservatives had conspired to get the US into a war in Iraq was ‘pervasive’ in the intelligence community. Yet few people would say so publicly, and most of those who did – including Senator Ernest Hollings and Representative James Moran – were condemned for raising the issue. Michael Kinsley wrote in late 2002 that ‘the lack of public discussion about the role of Israel … is the proverbial elephant in the room.’ The reason for the reluctance to talk about it, he observed, was fear of being labelled an anti-semite. There is little doubt that Israel and the Lobby were key factors in the decision to go to war. It’s a decision the US would have been far less likely to take without their efforts. And the war itself was intended to be only the first step. A front-page headline in the Wall Street Journal shortly after the war began says it all: ‘President’s Dream: Changing Not Just Regime but a Region: A Pro-US, Democratic Area Is a Goal that Has Israeli and Neo-Conservative Roots.’

Pro-Israel forces have long been interested in getting the US military more directly involved in the Middle East. But they had limited success during the Cold War, because America acted as an ‘off-shore balancer’ in the region. Most forces designated for the Middle East, like the Rapid Deployment Force, were kept ‘over the horizon’ and out of harm’s way. The idea was to play local powers off against each other – which is why the Reagan administration supported Saddam against revolutionary Iran during the Iran-Iraq War – in order to maintain a balance favourable to the US.

This policy changed after the first Gulf War, when the Clinton administration adopted a strategy of ‘dual containment’. Substantial US forces would be stationed in the region in order to contain both Iran and Iraq, instead of one being used to check the other. The father of dual containment was none other than Martin Indyk, who first outlined the strategy in May 1993 at WINEP and then implemented it as director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council.

By the mid-1990s there was considerable dissatisfaction with dual containment, because it made the United States the mortal enemy of two countries that hated each other, and forced Washington to bear the burden of containing both. But it was a strategy the Lobby favoured and worked actively in Congress to preserve. Pressed by AIPAC and other pro-Israel forces, Clinton toughened up the policy in the spring of 1995 by imposing an economic embargo on Iran. But AIPAC and the others wanted more. The result was the 1996 Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, which imposed sanctions on any foreign companies investing more than $40 million to develop petroleum resources in Iran or Libya. As Ze’ev Schiff, the military correspondent of Ha’aretz, noted at the time, ‘Israel is but a tiny element in the big scheme, but one should not conclude that it cannot influence those within the Beltway.’

By the late 1990s, however, the neo-conservatives were arguing that dual containment was not enough and that regime change in Iraq was essential. By toppling Saddam and turning Iraq into a vibrant democracy, they argued, the US would trigger a far-reaching process of change throughout the Middle East. The same line of thinking was evident in the ‘Clean Break’ study the neo-conservatives wrote for Netanyahu. By 2002, when an invasion of Iraq was on the front-burner, regional transformation was an article of faith in neo-conservative circles.

Charles Krauthammer describes this grand scheme as the brainchild of Natan Sharansky, but Israelis across the political spectrum believed that toppling Saddam would alter the Middle East to Israel’s advantage. Aluf Benn reported in Ha’aretz (17 February 2003):

Senior IDF officers and those close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, such as National Security Adviser Ephraim Halevy, paint a rosy picture of the wonderful future Israel can expect after the war. They envision a domino effect, with the fall of Saddam Hussein followed by that of Israel’s other enemies … Along with these leaders will disappear terror and weapons of mass destruction.

Once Baghdad fell in mid-April 2003, Sharon and his lieutenants began urging Washington to target Damascus. On 16 April, Sharon, interviewed in Yedioth Ahronoth, called for the United States to put ‘very heavy’ pressure on Syria, while Shaul Mofaz, his defence minister, interviewed in Ma’ariv, said: ‘We have a long list of issues that we are thinking of demanding of the Syrians and it is appropriate that it should be done through the Americans.’ Ephraim Halevy told a WINEP audience that it was now important for the US to get rough with Syria, and the Washington Post reported that Israel was ‘fuelling the campaign’ against Syria by feeding the US intelligence reports about the actions of Bashar Assad, the Syrian president.

Prominent members of the Lobby made the same arguments. Wolfowitz declared that ‘there has got to be regime change in Syria,’ and Richard Perle told a journalist that ‘a short message, a two-worded message’ could be delivered to other hostile regimes in the Middle East: ‘You’re next.’ In early April, WINEP released a bipartisan report stating that Syria ‘should not miss the message that countries that pursue Saddam’s reckless, irresponsible and defiant behaviour could end up sharing his fate’. On 15 April, Yossi Klein Halevi wrote a piece in the Los Angeles Times entitled ‘Next, Turn the Screws on Syria’, while the following day Zev Chafets wrote an article for the New York Daily News entitled ‘Terror-Friendly Syria Needs a Change, Too’. Not to be outdone, Lawrence Kaplan wrote in the New Republic on 21 April that Assad was a serious threat to America.

Back on Capitol Hill, Congressman Eliot Engel had reintroduced the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act. It threatened sanctions against Syria if it did not withdraw from Lebanon, give up its WMD and stop supporting terrorism, and it also called for Syria and Lebanon to take concrete steps to make peace with Israel. This legislation was strongly endorsed by the Lobby – by AIPAC especially – and ‘framed’, according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, ‘by some of Israel’s best friends in Congress’. The Bush administration had little enthusiasm for it, but the anti-Syrian act passed overwhelmingly (398 to 4 in the House; 89 to 4 in the Senate), and Bush signed it into law on 12 December 2003.

The administration itself was still divided about the wisdom of targeting Syria. Although the neo-conservatives were eager to pick a fight with Damascus, the CIA and the State Department were opposed to the idea. And even after Bush signed the new law, he emphasised that he would go slowly in implementing it. His ambivalence is understandable. First, the Syrian government had not only been providing important intelligence about al-Qaida since 9/11: it had also warned Washington about a planned terrorist attack in the Gulf and given CIA interrogators access to Mohammed Zammar, the alleged recruiter of some of the 9/11 hijackers. Targeting the Assad regime would jeopardise these valuable connections, and thereby undermine the larger war on terrorism.

Second, Syria had not been on bad terms with Washington before the Iraq war (it had even voted for UN Resolution 1441), and was itself no threat to the United States. Playing hardball with it would make the US look like a bully with an insatiable appetite for beating up Arab states. Third, putting Syria on the hit list would give Damascus a powerful incentive to cause trouble in Iraq. Even if one wanted to bring pressure to bear, it made good sense to finish the job in Iraq first. Yet Congress insisted on putting the screws on Damascus, largely in response to pressure from Israeli officials and groups like AIPAC. If there were no Lobby, there would have been no Syria Accountability Act, and US policy towards Damascus would have been more in line with the national interest.

Israelis tend to describe every threat in the starkest terms, but Iran is widely seen as their most dangerous enemy because it is the most likely to acquire nuclear weapons. Virtually all Israelis regard an Islamic country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons as a threat to their existence. ‘Iraq is a problem … But you should understand, if you ask me, today Iran is more dangerous than Iraq,’ the defence minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, remarked a month before the Iraq war.

Sharon began pushing the US to confront Iran in November 2002, in an interview in the Times. Describing Iran as the ‘centre of world terror’, and bent on acquiring nuclear weapons, he declared that the Bush administration should put the strong arm on Iran ‘the day after’ it conquered Iraq. In late April 2003, Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli ambassador in Washington was calling for regime change in Iran. The overthrow of Saddam, he noted, was ‘not enough’. In his words, America ‘has to follow through. We still have great threats of that magnitude coming from Syria, coming from Iran.’

The neo-conservatives, too, lost no time in making the case for regime change in Tehran. On 6 May, the AEI co-sponsored an all-day conference on Iran with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the Hudson Institute, both champions of Israel. The speakers were all strongly pro-Israel, and many called for the US to replace the Iranian regime with a democracy. As usual, a bevy of articles by prominent neo-conservatives made the case for going after Iran. ‘The liberation of Iraq was the first great battle for the future of the Middle East … But the next great battle – not, we hope, a military battle – will be for Iran,’ William Kristol wrote in the Weekly Standard on 12 May.

The administration has responded to the Lobby’s pressure by working overtime to shut down Iran’s nuclear programme. But Washington has had little success, and Iran seems determined to create a nuclear arsenal. As a result, the Lobby has intensified its pressure. Op-eds and other articles now warn of imminent dangers from a nuclear Iran, caution against any appeasement of a ‘terrorist’ regime, and hint darkly of preventive action should diplomacy fail. The Lobby is pushing Congress to approve the Iran Freedom Support Act, which would expand existing sanctions. Israeli officials also warn they may take pre-emptive action should Iran continue down the nuclear road, threats partly intended to keep Washington’s attention on the issue.

One might argue that Israel and the Lobby have not had much influence on policy towards Iran, because the US has its own reasons for keeping Iran from going nuclear. There is some truth in this, but Iran’s nuclear ambitions do not pose a direct threat to the US. If Washington could live with a nuclear Soviet Union, a nuclear China or even a nuclear North Korea, it can live with a nuclear Iran. And that is why the Lobby must keep up constant pressure on politicians to confront Tehran. Iran and the US would hardly be allies if the Lobby did not exist, but US policy would be more temperate and preventive war would not be a serious option.

It is not surprising that Israel and its American supporters want the US to deal with any and all threats to Israel’s security. If their efforts to shape US policy succeed, Israel’s enemies will be weakened or overthrown, Israel will get a free hand with the Palestinians, and the US will do most of the fighting, dying, rebuilding and paying. But even if the US fails to transform the Middle East and finds itself in conflict with an increasingly radicalised Arab and Islamic world, Israel will end up protected by the world’s only superpower. This is not a perfect outcome from the Lobby’s point of view, but it is obviously preferable to Washington distancing itself, or using its leverage to force Israel to make peace with the Palestinians.

Can the Lobby’s power be curtailed? One would like to think so, given the Iraq debacle, the obvious need to rebuild America’s image in the Arab and Islamic world, and the recent revelations about AIPAC officials passing US government secrets to Israel. One might also think that Arafat’s death and the election of the more moderate Mahmoud Abbas would cause Washington to press vigorously and even-handedly for a peace agreement. In short, there are ample grounds for leaders to distance themselves from the Lobby and adopt a Middle East policy more consistent with broader US interests. In particular, using American power to achieve a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians would help advance the cause of democracy in the region.

But that is not going to happen – not soon anyway. AIPAC and its allies (including Christian Zionists) have no serious opponents in the lobbying world. They know it has become more difficult to make Israel’s case today, and they are responding by taking on staff and expanding their activities. Besides, American politicians remain acutely sensitive to campaign contributions and other forms of political pressure, and major media outlets are likely to remain sympathetic to Israel no matter what it does.

The Lobby’s influence causes trouble on several fronts. It increases the terrorist danger that all states face – including America’s European allies. It has made it impossible to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a situation that gives extremists a powerful recruiting tool, increases the pool of potential terrorists and sympathisers, and contributes to Islamic radicalism in Europe and Asia.

Equally worrying, the Lobby’s campaign for regime change in Iran and Syria could lead the US to attack those countries, with potentially disastrous effects. We don’t need another Iraq. At a minimum, the Lobby’s hostility towards Syria and Iran makes it almost impossible for Washington to enlist them in the struggle against al-Qaida and the Iraqi insurgency, where their help is badly needed.

There is a moral dimension here as well. Thanks to the Lobby, the United States has become the de facto enabler of Israeli expansion in the Occupied Territories, making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians. This situation undercuts Washington’s efforts to promote democracy abroad and makes it look hypocritical when it presses other states to respect human rights. US efforts to limit nuclear proliferation appear equally hypocritical given its willingness to accept Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which only encourages Iran and others to seek a similar capability.

Besides, the Lobby’s campaign to quash debate about Israel is unhealthy for democracy. Silencing sceptics by organising blacklists and boycotts – or by suggesting that critics are anti-semites – violates the principle of open debate on which democracy depends. The inability of Congress to conduct a genuine debate on these important issues paralyses the entire process of democratic deliberation. Israel’s backers should be free to make their case and to challenge those who disagree with them, but efforts to stifle debate by intimidation must be roundly condemned.

Finally, the Lobby’s influence has been bad for Israel. Its ability to persuade Washington to support an expansionist agenda has discouraged Israel from seizing opportunities – including a peace treaty with Syria and a prompt and full implementation of the Oslo Accords – that would have saved Israeli lives and shrunk the ranks of Palestinian extremists. Denying the Palestinians their legitimate political rights certainly has not made Israel more secure, and the long campaign to kill or marginalise a generation of Palestinian leaders has empowered extremist groups like Hamas, and reduced the number of Palestinian leaders who would be willing to accept a fair settlement and able to make it work. Israel itself would probably be better off if the Lobby were less powerful and US policy more even-handed.

There is a ray of hope, however. Although the Lobby remains a powerful force, the adverse effects of its influence are increasingly difficult to hide. Powerful states can maintain flawed policies for quite some time, but reality cannot be ignored for ever. What is needed is a candid discussion of the Lobby’s influence and a more open debate about US interests in this vital region. Israel’s well-being is one of those interests, but its continued occupation of the West Bank and its broader regional agenda are not. Open debate will expose the limits of the strategic and moral case for one-sided US support and could move the US to a position more consistent with its own national interest, with the interests of the other states in the region, and with Israel’s long-term interests as well.

10 March

An unedited version of this article is available at http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011, or at http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=891198.

 

THE FOLLOWING ARE LETTERS TO THE LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS IN RESPONSE TO THE ARTICLE
It is well know that opposition to any criticisms of Israel or the relationship between Israel and its US
financiers is itself extremely organized and well financed. This fact must be taken into account when
reading the expected tsunami of outrage and accusations of anti-semitism which always follow any
criticism of Israel or the American political class whose survival depends on the Israeli Lobby.

 

Letters

Vol. 28 No. 7 · 6 April 2006

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s piece (LRB, 23 March) boils down to a simple argument, despite copious circumstantial detail and politically correct evasiveness. The ‘Israel Lobby’, spearheaded by AIPAC, is a coterie of Jews, neo-conservatives and Christian Zionists that dominates US foreign policy. It achieves this through the strategic activity of its leaders and its ability to deflect criticism with accusations of anti-semitism.

This argument rests on the belief that a small clique can achieve hegemony over an entity as complex as the US government. AIPAC commands great resources, but its reputation for untrammelled dominance is grossly overstated. There are plenty of countervailing centres of power, such as paleoconservatives, Arab and Islamic advocacy groups (e.g. CAIR) and the diplomatic establishment. A more powerful explanation for the influence of the ‘Lobby’ is that its values command genuine support among the American public. According to a February 2006 Gallup poll, 59 per cent of Americans express strong support for Israel. This figure includes 77 per cent of Republicans, but also half of all Democrats. Far from being the result of unschooled myths and stereotypes, support for Israel is higher among people who follow international events than among those who don’t (i.e. 66 per cent v. 59 per cent).

In addition, reducing American (and Western) conflict with Islam to the issue of Israel obscures more than it reveals. It fails to explain anti-Western Islamicist movements in places as far from Israel as Algeria and the Philippines. It refuses to examine instances when the US, on its own merits, trampled on Muslim self-esteem (in Iran from 1953 to 1979, in Lebanon in 1958), and when non-‘Lobby’ Americans may have had personal axes to grind in the Middle East (e.g. the Bush family in Iraq). Mearsheimer and Walt don’t consider the way that Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf sheikhdoms justify their own autocratic privileges by bankrolling extremism against Israel, or the reasons young European Muslims respond to discrimination in their host societies with anger not at white Europeans, but at a country thousands of miles away. Could it be that vote-seeking European leftists and Saudi-funded Islamic clerics are amplifying the conflict in the Middle East into a transnational obsession? The violence following the publication of Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in late 2005 may be instructive in this regard: though touching a real nerve, it was widely recognised that particular groups and countries were prolonging the outrage for their own benefit. Josef Joffe argued in Foreign Policy last year that ‘far from creating tensions, Israel actually contains more antagonisms than it causes.’ The USA may very well be purchasing world stability at a bargain through its alliance with Israel.

Perhaps hardest to swallow is Mearsheimer and Walt’s moralising tone. They present themselves as hard-headed realists dispassionately guarding America’s national interest, which is surprisingly not compromised by nuclear weapons in North Korean or Iranian hands. They then catalogue Israel’s moral flaws, refusing to give equal time to Palestinian extremism, maximalism and truculence. We are left with the impression that Israel’s founding and post-1967 expansion were gratuitous sins, while the refusal of the Palestinians to compromise in the 1930s or their current cult of violence are (presumably) natural responses, fixed and unalterable. Having made this point, the authors presume to suggest that a more restrained US policy will be good for Israel. This is probably a display of monumental presumptuousness, but I’ll give the authors more credit than they give Israel and chalk it up to sheer myopia.

Adam Glantz
Herndon, Virginia

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt give a strikingly inaccurate account of Middle Eastern history. Arab resentment of America originates from a long pattern of British and French imperialism in the region. This resentment evolved into a more generalised anti-Westernism perpetuated and exploited by the USSR and Soviet allies like Nasser. The distrust of the West including America was further exacerbated by a feeling in the region that the United States often favored pro-American dictators over more democratic leaders. Over the past two decades, anti-Western militancy in the Middle East has evolved from a Marxist movement into one built on a twisted religious extremism. At the same time, the Arab world has been afflicted with extreme anti-semitism reminiscent of Nazism. A lost war by Israel or a significant poison gas attack on Tel Aviv could easily translate into another holocaust. Finally, support for Israel does not seem quite so extensive when one considers the massive level of manpower America has deployed over the past six decades to defend Western Europe, South Korea and Japan.

Michael Szanto
Chicago


Accusations of powerful Jews behind the scenes are part of the most dangerous traditions of modern anti-semitism. So it is with dismay that we read John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s ‘The Israel Lobby’. We have known and respected John Mearsheimer for over twenty years, which makes the essay all the more unsettling.

First, it is not true that the American relationship with Israel has been ‘the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy’. That centrepiece has been and remains access to oil for the United States and for the global economy. As it became apparent during the 1960s that Israel was not merely the only democracy in the region but also a supporter of the West in the Cold War, the American relationship intensified. At that point, support for Israel, which had been strongest among liberals who supported a Jewish state in the wake of the Holocaust, expanded to include the previously less than enthusiastic military and diplomatic foreign policy establishment, some of which was deeply hostile to Israel and suspicious of Jews, to put it mildly. This was not due to the efforts of the Jewish Lobby or the power of the five million Jews (in a country of almost 300 million). It was due to an assessment of American national interest made by an overwhelmingly non-Jewish political and military establishment long before Christian fundamentalism became a factor in the Republican Party. It coincided with increasingly close ties with the Saudi regime.

Second, it is not true that the United States went to war in Iraq because of the pressure of a Jewish Lobby. Even if the key decision makers were Jews, this would not prove the point about the Jewish Lobby. As it happens, the primary advisers and war planners for Bush were Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Rice and the entirely non-Jewish military leadership, not the usual suspects now trotted out by those peddling stories about Jewish power behind the scenes. Whatever Israel or its supporters in the US may or may not have wanted, American and British leaders decided to go to war for reasons grounded in their own interpretation of their respective national interests. Saddam Hussein stunned and surprised his own military leaders three months before the US and Britain invaded by revealing to them that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction. There were many officials in London and Washington – or Berlin and Paris, for that matter – who would have been just as surprised.

One need not think the decision to go to war was the correct one to remember that it was not motivated by concerns about Israel’s national security. One need not agree that oil below the ground and dictatorship above it posed an immediate threat to recall that British and American (as well as other Western) leaders believed that Saddam with weapons of mass destruction in years to come would have posed a threat to the other Arab oil-producing states as much as to Israel. Mearsheimer and Walt’s realism ignores this conventional threat in the minds of American and British policymakers.

Third, while much opinion in the Arab and Islamic world has rejected the presence of a Jewish state in its midst, anti-Americanism, hatred of Europe (including Britain) and of liberal modernity in general would exist if Israel was not there. Mearsheimer and Walt stand in a long tradition of ‘realist’ political scientists known for naivety regarding the power and import of ideological fanaticism in international affairs. This naivety is the reason that radical Islam and the enduring crises of modernisation in the region that produced it receive hardly a word in their long attack.

Fourth, American Jewish citizens have a right to express their views without being charged with placing the interests of Israel ahead of those of the US. Mearsheimer and Walt’s attack appears eight years after the terrorist war against the West declared by Osama Bin Laden; six years after Ehud Barak offered a compromise plan to end the conflict and occupation of the West Bank, and Yassir Arafat responded with a terrorist campaign of his own; after countless terrorist attacks all over the world by al-Qaida and its sympathisers, including the London Underground bombings; after repeated acts of terrorist barbarism in Iraq by radical Islamists; after the declaration by the Iranian president that Israel should be wiped out and that the Holocaust was a myth; and, most recently, after the world’s first electoral victory with a solid majority won by an openly anti-semitic terrorist organisation, Hamas. Mearsheimer and Walt further ignore that all of this happened also after Israel withdrew from Lebanon, offered the Barak plan, retaliated to the terrorist campaign as any state – including Britain or the United States – would, accepted the principle of a Palestinian state and thus agreed to withdraw from over 90 per cent of the West Bank, and then withdrew completely from Gaza. If the Palestinians had responded to these offers of a compromise peace, they would perhaps have had a functioning state before radical Islam came to dominate their politics. It was radical Islamist and secular Palestinian militants, not the Jewish Lobby, that destroyed prospects for a compromise settlement.

If the US concluded that it no longer had a vital interest in the continued survival of the only democracy in the Middle East, those now attacking Western modernity might conclude that the Americans could be convinced that the defence of Europe – and Britain – was also not in the American interest.

Jeffrey Herf & Andrei Markovits
University of Maryland & University of Michigan

Perhaps you know, perhaps you don’t, that the longer, unedited version of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s essay posted on Harvard and Chicago University websites is being distributed by the PLO in Washington, and is being hailed by AbdulMoneim Abul-Fotouh, a senior member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and by David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader. He had this to say about it: ‘I have read about the report and read one summary already, and I am surprised how excellent it is. It is quite satisfying to see a body in the premier American University essentially come out and validate every major point I have been making since before the war even started.’ He added that ‘the task before us is to wrest control of America’s foreign policy and critical junctures of media from the Jewish extremist neo-cons that seek to lead us into what they expectantly call World War Four.’ I don’t want to be in such company, and neither should you. Please cancel my subscription.

Michael Taylor
Old Malton, North Yorkshire

Vol. 28 No. 8 · 20 April 2006

 

 

As an advocate of free speech and an opponent of censorship based on political correctness, I welcome a serious, balanced, objective study of the influences of lobbies – including Israeli lobbies – on American foreign policy. I also welcome reasoned, contextual and comparative criticism of Israeli policies and actions. But in light of the many errors in John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s article, and their admission that ‘none of the evidence’ they give ‘represents original documentation or is derived from independent interviews’, it is fair to ask why these distinguished academics chose to publish a paper that does not meet their usual scholarly standards, especially given the obvious risk that it would be featured, as it has been, on neo-Nazi and extremist websites, and even those of terrorist organisations, and that it would be used by overt anti-semites to ‘validate’ their claims of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy (LRB, 23 March).

The authors pre-emptively accuse the Lobby of indiscriminately crying anti-semitism: ‘Anyone who criticises Israeli actions or argues that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over US Middle East policy … stands a good chance of being labelled an anti-semite’; ‘In other words, criticise Israeli policy and you are by definition an anti-semite.’ This is demonstrably false, though it is a charge made frequently in the hate literature. Several years ago, I challenged those who made similar accusations to identify a single Jewish leader who equated mere criticism of Israeli policy with anti-semitism. No one accepted my challenge, because no Jewish leader has made such a claim. Among the harshest critics of Israeli policy are Jews and Israelis: just read the mainstream Israeli and Jewish-American press.

Mearsheimer and Walt rely on discredited allegations and partial quotation. They twice quote David Ben-Gurion out of context so that he appears to be saying the exact opposite of what he actually did say. First, the authors have Ben-Gurion stating: ‘After the formation of a large army in the wake of the establishment of the state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.’ The clear implication is that this would be done by force. Yet, in a follow-up question, Ben-Gurion was asked whether he meant to achieve this ‘by force as well?’ He responded in the negative: ‘Through mutual understanding and Jewish-Arab agreement.’ Mearsheimer and Walt omit this important qualification. Ben-Gurion is then quoted as saying that ‘it is impossible to imagine general evacuation’ of the Arab population ‘without compulsion, and brutal compulsion’, which makes it seem as if Ben-Gurion was advocating ‘brutal compulsion’. They omit what he said next: ‘But we should in no way make it part of our programme.’ Either they were unaware of the context of the quotes because they read only misleading excerpts ripped out of context; or they decided to misuse the quotes so as to mislead the reader.

There are many other factual errors, but I will draw attention to just a few. ‘Israel,’ they state, ‘was explicitly founded as a Jewish state and citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship.’ This mendacious emphasis on Jewish ‘blood’ is a favourite of neo-Nazi propaganda. It is totally false. A person of any ethnicity or religion can become an Israeli citizen. In fact, approximately a quarter of Israel’s citizens are not Jewish, a higher percentage of minority citizenry than nearly any other country. Indeed, Mearsheimer and Walt admit that Israel has 1.3 million Arab citizens – about 20 per cent of its population. The paper’s authors confuse Israel’s law of return – which was designed to grant asylum to victims of anti-semitism, including non-Jewish relatives of Jews – with its law of citizenship.

If Mearsheimer and Walt were truly concerned about racist citizenship statutes, they could have looked right next door to Jordan, which openly and explicitly refuses to grant citizenship to Jews. When asked by the New York Sun about Arab citizenship laws, Walt responded: ‘We were not writing on Saudi Arabia and Jordan.’ Mearsheimer and Walt in fact compare Israel to its Arab neighbours on several occasions, finding – incredibly – that ‘in terms of actual behaviour, Israel’s conduct is not morally distinguishable from the actions of its opponents.’ Walt’s evasive answer reminds me of a remark attributed to another Harvard administrator, A. Lawrence Lowell, who fought fiercely to keep Jews out of Harvard. His reasoning was that ‘Jews cheat.’ When it was pointed out to him that some non-Jews cheat, Lowell allegedly responded: ‘You’re changing the subject. I’m talking about Jews.’

Mearsheimer and Walt contend that the ‘United States has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around … There is no question, for example, that many al-Qaida leaders, including bin Laden, are motivated by Israel’s presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinians.’ In fact, bin Laden was primarily motivated by the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, recall, had asked the United States to defend the Arabian Peninsula against Iraqi aggression prior to the first Gulf War. So it was America’s ties to and defence of an Arab state – from which 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers originated – and not the Jewish state, that most clearly precipitated the events of 11 September 2001. Nor does Israel’s supposed domination of American public life explain the terrorist massacres in Bali, Madrid, London and elsewhere. Europe, after all, is praised for being less susceptible to the Lobby’s manipulation.

Mearsheimer and Walt’s boldest mis-statement concerns the negotiations at Camp David in July 2000. ‘Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s purportedly generous offer,’ they write, ‘would have given the Palestinians only a disarmed and dismembered set of Bantustans under de facto Israeli control.’ Barak has said that the Bantustan accusation was ‘one of the most embarrassing lies’ Arafat told about Camp David. Mearsheimer and Walt do not cite the map Dennis Ross published in his book The Missing Peace, which contrasts the Palestinian characterisation of the final proposal at Camp David with the actual proposal. The second map – the real map offered to the Palestinians at Camp David – shows a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank. Prince Bandar, a member of the Saudi royal family, was so astounded by the generosity of Israel’s offer that he told Arafat: ‘If we lose this opportunity, it is not going to be a tragedy. This is going to be a crime.’

Even if the scholarship were sound and the facts accurate, the paper’s thesis would remain unsound. Their first argument is that the very existence of an Israeli lobby proves that support for Israel is essentially un-American. ‘The mere existence of the Lobby,’ they write, ‘suggests that unconditional support for Israel is not in the American national interest. If it was, one would not need an organised special interest group to bring it about.’ In other words, any group that needs a lobby must be working against the ‘American national interest’. The most powerful lobby in the US is, in fact, the American Association of Retired Persons. According to Mearsheimer and Walt’s logic, that would mean that the rights of retired people are inconsistent with American national interests, as is equality for African Americans (NAACP) and choice for women. The reality, of course, is that virtually all interest groups and many foreign countries undertake lobbying, but only the ‘Israel Lobby’ is accused of being contrary to American national interest.

Mearsheimer and Walt attribute anything that Israel and America do or aspire to achieve in common to Israeli manipulation. They confuse correlation with causation. The upshot of their argument concerning the invasion of Iraq is that Ariel Sharon duped President Bush into overthrowing Saddam Hussein. They do not consider the more likely explanation: that Bush and Sharon shared the same worldview and vision for the Middle East.

Walt’s Harvard colleague David Gergen – who has a great deal of experience of the decision-making process in the White House – finds the paper’s thesis ‘wildly at variance’ with what he witnessed. Had Mearsheimer and Walt interviewed Gergen they would have learned the following:

Over the course of four tours in the White House, I never once saw a decision in the Oval Office to tilt US foreign policy in favour of Israel at the expense of America’s interest. Other than Richard Nixon – who occasionally said terrible things about Jews, despite the number on his team – I can’t remember any president even talking about an Israeli lobby. Perhaps I have forgotten, but I can remember plenty of conversations about the power of the American gun lobby, environmentalists, evangelicals, small-business owners and teachers unions.

It is not only Mearsheimer and Walt’s words that invoke stereotypes and canards. It is the ‘music’ as well – the tone, pitch and feel of the article – that has caused such outrage. Imagine if two academics compiled an equivalent number of negative statements, based on shoddy research and questionable sources, to the effect that African Americans cause all the problems in America, and presented that compilation as evidence that African Americans behave in a manner contrary to the best interest of the United States. Who would fail to recognise such a project as destructive?

Walt and Mearsheimer repeatedly claim that they wrote their article, at least in part, in order to stimulate a discussion about the influence of the Lobby. They claim that it is the pro-Israel side that seeks to suppress this ‘because an open debate might lead Americans to question the level of support they provide’. My invitation to debate remains open. I challenge Mearsheimer and Walt to look me in the eye and tell me that because I am a proud Jew and a critical supporter of Israel, I am disloyal to my country.

Alan Dershowitz
Harvard University

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt write that ‘not all Jewish Americans are part of the Lobby, because Israel is not a salient issue for many of them.’ They thus ignore those American Jews for whom Israel is important but who do not agree with the aims of the Lobby, or do not think that it acts to the benefit of Israel, America or anyone else in the Middle East.

Frank Solomon
MIT

If the inhumane behaviour of the Israeli government is allowed to continue, anti-semitism will certainly increase and unfortunately it will be real, and no longer merely Israeli apologists crying wolf.

Caroline and Nathan Finkelstein
Tannay, Switzerland

The current situation in the Middle East is very different from the one depicted by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Egypt and Jordan have peace treaties with Israel, and they, the Gulf States and some North African countries share a vital interest in repelling militant Islam and, in the case of the Gulf States, ensuring their security against Iran. The United States and Israel share this interest.

Yair Evron
Jerusalem

Having read John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s extensive writings in international relations theory, I assumed that, as realists or neo-realists, they attached primacy to the international setting in shaping foreign policy choices. According to such theory, states act in accordance with national interests which are shaped by the outside world and in response to threats within an anarchical international system and society. If this is the case, their thesis about the alleged influence of the Israeli Lobby on US foreign policy contradicts the essential tenet of the theory on which they have in large part constructed their academic reputations.

However, I have a more immediate concern. The authors allege that ‘over the past 25 years, pro-Israel forces have established a commanding presence’ at US think-tanks, and give a list that includes the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis. The basis on which the authors make this assertion escapes me. We have undertaken studies of US policy towards the Gulf States as well as Israel and other countries in and around the Middle East. To the extent that such studies support Israel or any other states in the region, this is the result of an independent analysis of US needs and interests. If Mearsheimer and Walt had taken the time to interview me or any of my colleagues, they could easily have discovered this.

Robert Pfaltzgraff
Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Cambridge, Massachusetts

More than thirty years ago, I was one of the first British Jewish writers to write about the harsh behaviour of the Israeli authorities towards the Palestinians living under a cruel and illegal occupation. Although I did not write about anything which I had not witnessed, I was accused of lying, of being ‘paid by the Arabs’ and even of ‘having sex intercourse with the Arab gangsters’. I was inundated with letters containing hysterical abuse and anonymous death threats, and attacked verbally and physically. One man wrote to say he considered it his duty ‘to prevent a Jewess from damaging the cause of Israel’. Publications for which I had worked were told that I was ‘a member of a terrorist gang’.

It is a pity that supporters of Israel still reach for the same obfuscations, denigrations and outright distortions of fact. As far back as 1980, the May/June issue of Yiton 77 (a Hebrew literary monthly) published an article by the Israeli writer Boaz Evron on the use of accusations of anti-semitism and reminders of the Holocaust to silence critics. There have been many similar articles in the Israeli media over the years.

Marion Woolfson
Edinburgh

Why do Jeffrey Herf and Andrei Markovits employ the Lobby’s rhetorical tactic of conflating Israel with Jews (Letters, 6 April)? John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt are careful to distinguish the Israel Lobby from American Jewish citizens, and never refer to a ‘Jewish’ Lobby. And why do they accuse Mearsheimer and Walt of ‘naivety regarding the power and import of ideological fanaticism in international affairs’? Their article was precisely about the impact of ideological fanaticism not only on international affairs but on American democracy. Finally, does the fact that Likud came third in the recent Israeli elections mean that the majority of Israelis are not in sympathy with all of the policies promoted in their name by the Lobby?

Renee Slater
Bristol

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt claim that Golda Meir said that ‘there is no such thing as a Palestinian.’ This reference to Meir is obligatory in anti-Israel polemics. In fact, Meir said something quite different in the interview from which the professors’ quotation supposedly originates. In this interview, with the Sunday Times in 1969, when asked if she considered ‘the emergence of the Palestinian fighting forces, the Fedayeen, an important new factor in the Middle East’, Meir replied:

Important, no. A new factor, yes. There was no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.

A few years later, in the New York Times of 14 January 1976, Meir stated:

To be misquoted is an occupational hazard of political leadership; for this reason I should like to clarify my position in regard to the Palestinian issue. I have been charged with being rigidly insensitive to the question of the Palestinian Arabs. In evidence of this I am supposed to have said, ‘There are no Palestinians.’ My actual words were: ‘There is no Palestine people. There are Palestinian refugees.’ The distinction is not semantic. My statement was based on a lifetime of debates with Arab nationalists who vehemently excluded a separatist Palestinian Arab nationalism from their formulations.

It is clear that even in the original interview Meir was referring to Palestinian nationhood and not Palestinians in general, whose existence she clearly acknowledged both in that comment and in everything else she ever said about them.

Mearsheimer and Walt also write that ‘in 2003, the head of the French Jewish community said that “France is not more anti-semitic than America.”’ The quotation is from an interview with Roger Cukierman in the magazine Forward, in which Cukierman differentiated between French anti-semitism of the traditional French/European variety, and ‘new’ manifestations of anti-Jewish violence in France. As the Forward article explains, in Cukierman’s estimation the latter manifestations ‘were responsible for 95 per cent to 98 per cent of anti-semitic incidents’ in France: ‘This is why “France is not more anti-semitic than America,” he explained, despite the fact that most Muslims in France are French citizens.’ Mearsheimer and Walt distort Cukierman’s assessment by portraying his comments as if he had been referring to all French anti-semitism.

Jeremy Schreiber
Columbus, Ohio

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt do not address the fundamental issue: Israel’s relationship to America is that of a client state. Difficulties arise because Israel, unlike many client states in the past, has a very strong agenda of its own: it wants to exist, preferably at peace with its neighbours, but within boundaries and with a population of its own choosing.

Israel’s way of achieving these goals and dealing with regional opposition to them is, in many people’s eyes – possibly including those of many Jewish Americans – morally repugnant. That America has tended to look the other way is hardly surprising: reining Israel in would be difficult and even more costly than accepting the status quo. These costs can be counted not just in dollars, which the Israeli government is adept at extorting in ever greater quantities, but in terms of Israel’s willingness to act as the agent of pax Americana in a region that is strategically important but potentially very hostile to the United States.

In other words, an Israel Lobby, whatever degree of influence one attributes to it, isn’t really vital to the client-state relationship. Still, it would be surprising if both partners, and Israel in particular, were not having doubts about the viability of the relationship in the longer term. On the one hand, along with anti-Americanism, anti-semitism is creeping back into Europe via the immigrant underclasses. And, on the other, Iraq has shown the world that America is not good at creating and nurturing client states. Would it be any better, if push came to shove, at protecting an already existing one? Should word get around that America will not or cannot defend its Middle Eastern client state, no amount of lobbying in Washington will protect Israel.

John Gretton
Birmingham

It’s interesting that Daniel Pipes does not think his ‘decision to establish Campus Watch’ – a nasty anti-dissent echo of McCarthyism – might be the action of a member of the Israel Lobby because no ‘outside source’ told him to set it up (Letters, 6 April). He doesn’t deny Mearsheimer and Walt’s description of what Campus Watch is trying to get people to do.

You could get the impression, reading Adam Glantz’s letter in the same issue, that Israel and Palestine are two evenly matched warring states. Given the failure of the US media to inform Americans of alternative viewpoints it is hardly surprising that those in the US who ‘follow international events’ give even more ‘support to Israel’ than those who don’t. Glantz is right that world hostility to American fundamentalism and domination can’t be reduced to the issue of Israel, but suggests that through its alliance with an armed and expansionist Israel the US ‘may be purchasing world stability at a bargain price’. As many empires have found, extremist satellite regimes are not always the best bargain in the long term.

Tom Wengraf
London N10

Harry Truman recognised the state of Israel fifteen minutes after it declared itself a nation. ‘In all of my political experience,’ he said, ‘I don’t ever recall the Arab vote swinging a close election.’ But it’s wrong to blame uncritical US support for Israel on the Lobby. British Jews are as well organised, well funded, almost as numerous relative to population and, understandably, just as pro-Israel as American Jews. Yet European and US public – and therefore government – attitudes to Israel are very different.

Until 1967, Israel was admired equally on both sides of the Atlantic. Its subsequent colonisation of East Jerusalem and chunks of the West Bank – on top of the 78 per cent of Palestine it already had – gradually alienated most Europeans, whose overstretched governments had just given up their colonies. In a 2003 European Commission poll in 15 EU countries, 59 per cent of those who responded named Israel as a threat to world peace; significantly fewer named Iran, Iraq, North Korea or Afghanistan.

Americans, however, kept the faith. In the 1980s, Republican support for Israel hardened as a result of the growing Christian fundamentalist movement, which believes Jerusalem’s holy sites belong in Western hands. Then there’s the analogy between the Zionist ‘recovery’ of Palestine and the early North American settlers’ flight from religious persecution in Europe. Could America’s support of Israel be driven in part by identification with its own history?

Joseph Palley
Richmond, Surrey

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt claim that Israel has become a ‘strategic burden’ to the US and give as an example the use of Patriot missile batteries in the 1991 Gulf War ‘to prevent Tel Aviv doing anything that might harm the alliance against Saddam’. This is bizarre: the reason the US had to supply Patriots to Israel was to defend it against attacks by Saddam, who attacked Israel as a response to the US/ coalition action against Iraq, which was itself a defence of Kuwaiti independence and wider US strategic interests in the region. If this instance shows anything, it is that Israel’s security was jeopardised as a result of US action in support of US and Kuwaiti strategic interests that had nothing to do with Israel – virtually the opposite of the case the authors are trying to make.

Michael Grenfell
Edgware, Middlesex

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt almost acquit the American war machine of what is happening here. ‘The bottom line,’ they write, ‘is that AIPAC, a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on Congress, with the result that US policy towards Israel is not debated there.’ Suppose AIPAC weren’t there: would American policy in the Middle East be different? I doubt it.

Yitzhak Laor
Tel Aviv

The development of Jewish Studies and Israel Studies programmes in US universities is motivated in large part by a desire to promote Jewish identity (often utilising Israel as an anchor for that identity), but within America, as an antidote to assimilation. In some respects this is a very un-Zionist agenda, as it aims to create a space in which one can be Jewish and American at the same time. While I agree with Mearsheimer and Walt that often it is difficult to discuss Israel or the Israel Lobby without having one’s motives impugned, this situation tends to push commentary to the extremes, and their article is an unfortunate example of that.

Kenneth Cuno
University of Illinois, Champaign

Besides those published here and in the last issue, we have received a great many letters in response to John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s piece – not all of them edifying, though we haven’t received any death threats, as one correspondent from New Jersey feared we would. There have been a number of accusations of anti-semitism, as Mearsheimer and Walt predicted, and some very unpleasant remarks about Arabs, but also dozens of messages praising the article. Most readers understood that Mearsheimer and Walt were writing about US foreign policy and its effects on the Middle East, though there have also been a few congratulatory messages of an anti-semitic nature. The letters accusing Mearsheimer and Walt of having written an ‘anti-semitic rant’ and those congratulating them for having exposed a ‘secret Jewish’ – or, as one individual felt the need to spell it, ‘J E W I S H’ – ‘conspiracy’ have something in common: they come from people who appear not to have read the piece, and who seem incapable of distinguishing between criticism of Israeli or US government policy and anti-semitism.

We don’t usually publish letters of simple praise, which meant that only letters putting the case against Mearsheimer and Walt appeared in the last number of the LRB. This led one correspondent to write: ‘Your obvious slant in the letters you have chosen to publish regarding the Israel Lobby establishes, once again, that Israeli apologists are alive and well and living at the London Review of Books.’ It may be impossible to write or publish anything relating to Israel without provoking accusations of bias.

Mearsheimer and Walt will reply to the correspondence we’ve published and discuss the wider response to their article in the next issue.

Editors, ‘London Review’

Vol. 28 No. 9 · 11 May 2006

We wrote ‘The Israel Lobby’ in order to begin a discussion of a subject that had become difficult to address openly in the United States (LRB, 23 March). We knew it was likely to generate a strong reaction, and we are not surprised that some of our critics have chosen to attack our characters or misrepresent our arguments. We have also been gratified by the many positive responses we have received, and by the thoughtful commentary that has begun to emerge in the media and the blogosphere. It is clear that many people – including Jews and Israelis – believe that it is time to have a candid discussion of the US relationship with Israel. It is in that spirit that we engage with the letters responding to our article. We confine ourselves here to the most salient points of dispute.

One of the most prominent charges against us is that we see the lobby as a well-organised Jewish conspiracy. Jeffrey Herf and Andrei Markovits, for example, begin by noting that ‘accusations of powerful Jews behind the scenes are part of the most dangerous traditions of modern anti-semitism’ (Letters, 6 April). It is a tradition we deplore and that we explicitly rejected in our article. Instead, we described the lobby as a loose coalition of individuals and organisations without a central headquarters. It includes gentiles as well as Jews, and many Jewish-Americans do not endorse its positions on some or all issues. Most important, the Israel lobby is not a secret, clandestine cabal; on the contrary, it is openly engaged in interest-group politics and there is nothing conspiratorial or illicit about its behaviour. Thus, we can easily believe that Daniel Pipes has never ‘taken orders’ from the lobby, because the Leninist caricature of the lobby depicted in his letter is one that we clearly dismissed. Readers will also note that Pipes does not deny that his organisation, Campus Watch, was created in order to monitor what academics say, write and teach, so as to discourage them from engaging in open discourse about the Middle East.

Several writers chide us for making mono-causal arguments, accusing us of saying that Israel alone is responsible for anti-Americanism in the Arab and Islamic world (as one letter puts it, anti-Americanism ‘would exist if Israel was not there’) or suggesting that the lobby bears sole responsibility for the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq. But that is not what we said. We emphasised that US support for Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories is a powerful source of anti-Americanism, the conclusion reached in several scholarly studies and US government commissions (including the 9/11 Commission). But we also pointed out that support for Israel is hardly the only reason America’s standing in the Middle East is so low. Similarly, we clearly stated that Osama bin Laden had other grievances against the United States besides the Palestinian issue, but as the 9/11 Commission documents, this matter was a major concern for him. We also explicitly stated that the lobby, by itself, could not convince either the Clinton or the Bush administration to invade Iraq. Nevertheless, there is abundant evidence that the neo-conservatives and other groups within the lobby played a central role in making the case for war.

At least two of the letters complain that we ‘catalogue Israel’s moral flaws’, while paying little attention to the shortcomings of other states. We focused on Israeli behaviour, not because we have any animus towards Israel, but because the United States gives it such high levels of material and diplomatic support. Our aim was to determine whether Israel merits this special treatment either because it is a unique strategic asset or because it behaves better than other countries do. We argued that neither argument is convincing: Israel’s strategic value has declined since the end of the Cold War and Israel does not behave significantly better than most other states.

Herf and Markovits interpret us to be saying that Israel’s ‘continued survival’ should be of little concern to the United States. We made no such argument. In fact, we emphasised that there is a powerful moral case for Israel’s existence, and we firmly believe that the United States should take action to ensure its survival if it were in danger. Our criticism was directed at Israeli policy and America’s special relationship with Israel, not Israel’s existence.

Another recurring theme in the letters is that the lobby ultimately matters little because Israel’s ‘values command genuine support among the American public’. Thus, Herf and Markovits maintain that there is substantial support for Israel in military and diplomatic circles within the United States. We agree that there is strong public support for Israel in America, in part because it is seen as compatible with America’s Judaeo-Christian culture. But we believe this popularity is substantially due to the lobby’s success at portraying Israel in a favourable light and effectively limiting public awareness and discussion of Israel’s less savoury actions. Diplomats and military officers are also affected by this distorted public discourse, but many of them can see through the rhetoric. They keep silent, however, because they fear that groups like AIPAC will damage their careers if they speak out. The fact is that if there were no AIPAC, Americans would have a more critical view of Israel and US policy in the Middle East would look different.

On a related point, Michael Szanto contrasts the US-Israeli relationship with the American military commitments to Western Europe, Japan and South Korea, to show that the United States has given substantial support to other states besides Israel (6 April). He does not mention, however, that these other relationships did not depend on strong domestic lobbies. The reason is simple: these countries did not need a lobby because close ties with each of them were in America’s strategic interest. By contrast, as Israel has become a strategic burden for the US, its American backers have had to work even harder to preserve the ‘special relationship’.

Other critics contend that we overstate the lobby’s power because we overlook countervailing forces, such as ‘paleo-conservatives, Arab and Islamic advocacy groups … and the diplomatic establishment’. Such countervailing forces do exist, but they are no match – either alone or in combination – for the lobby. There are Arab-American political groups, for example, but they are weak, divided, and wield far less influence than AIPAC and other organisations that present a strong, consistent message from the lobby.

Probably the most popular argument made about a countervailing force is Herf and Markovits’s claim that the centrepiece of US Middle East policy is oil, not Israel. There is no question that access to that region’s oil is a vital US strategic interest. Washington is also deeply committed to supporting Israel. Thus, the relevant question is, how does each of those interests affect US policy? We maintain that US policy in the Middle East is driven primarily by the commitment to Israel, not oil interests. If the oil companies or the oil-producing countries were driving policy, Washington would be tempted to favour the Palestinians instead of Israel. Moreover, the United States would almost certainly not have gone to war against Iraq in March 2003, and the Bush administration would not be threatening to use military force against Iran. Although many claim that the Iraq war was all about oil, there is hardly any evidence to support that supposition, and much evidence of the lobby’s influence. Oil is clearly an important concern for US policymakers, but with the exception of episodes like the 1973 Opec oil embargo, the US commitment to Israel has yet to threaten access to oil. It does, however, contribute to America’s terrorism problem, complicates its efforts to halt nuclear proliferation, and helped get the United States involved in wars like Iraq.

Regrettably, some of our critics have tried to smear us by linking us with overt racists, thereby suggesting that we are racists or anti-semites ourselves. Michael Taylor, for example, notes that our article has been ‘hailed’ by Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke (Letters, 6 April). Alan Dershowitz implies that some of our material was taken from neo-Nazi websites and other hate literature (Letters, 20 April). We have no control over who likes or dislikes our article, but we regret that Duke used it to promote his racist agenda, which we utterly reject. Furthermore, nothing in our piece is drawn from racist sources of any kind, and Dershowitz offers no evidence to support this false claim. We provided a fully documented version of the paper so that readers could see for themselves that we used reputable sources.

Finally, a few critics claim that some of our facts, references or quotations are mistaken. For example, Dershowitz challenges our claim that Israel was ‘explicitly founded as a Jewish state and citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship’. Israel was founded as a Jewish state (a fact Dershowitz does not challenge), and our reference to citizenship was obviously to Israel’s Jewish citizens, whose identity is ordinarily based on ancestry. We stated that Israel has a sizeable number of non-Jewish citizens (primarily Arabs), and our main point was that many of them are relegated to a second-class status in a predominantly Jewish society.

We also referred to Golda Meir’s famous statement that ‘there is no such thing as a Palestinian,’ and Jeremy Schreiber reads us as saying that Meir was denying the existence of those people rather than simply denying Palestinian nationhood (20 April). There is no disagreement here; we agree with Schreiber’s interpretation and we quoted Meir in a discussion of Israel’s prolonged effort ‘to deny the Palestinians’ national ambitions’.

Dershowitz challenges our claim that the Israelis did not offer the Palestinians a contiguous state at Camp David in July 2000. As support, he cites a statement by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and the memoirs of former US negotiator Dennis Ross. There are a number of competing accounts of what happened at Camp David, however, and many of them agree with our claim. Moreover, Barak himself acknowledges that ‘the Palestinians were promised a continuous piece of sovereign territory except for a razor-thin Israeli wedge running from Jerusalem … to the Jordan River.’ This wedge, which would bisect the West Bank, was essential to Israel’s plan to retain control of the Jordan River Valley for another six to twenty years. Finally, and contrary to Dershowitz’s claim, there was no ‘second map’ or map of a ‘final proposal at Camp David’. Indeed, it is explicitly stated in a note beside the map published in Ross’s memoirs that ‘no map was presented during the final rounds at Camp David.’ Given all this, it is not surprising that Barak’s foreign minister, Shlomo Ben-Ami, who was a key participant at Camp David, later admitted: ‘If I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David as well.’

Dershowitz also claims that we quote David Ben-Gurion ‘out of context’ and thus misrepresented his views on the need to use force to build a Jewish state in all of Palestine. Dershowitz is wrong. As a number of Israeli historians have shown, Ben-Gurion made numerous statements about the need to use force (or the threat of overwhelming force) to create a Jewish state in all of Palestine. In October 1937, for example, he wrote to his son Amos that the future Jewish state would have an ‘outstanding army … so I am certain that we won’t be constrained from settling in the rest of the country, either by mutual agreement and understanding with our Arab neighbours, or by some other way’ (emphasis added). Furthermore, common sense says that there was no other way to achieve that goal, because the Palestinians were hardly likely to give up their homeland voluntarily. Ben-Gurion was a consummate strategist and he understood that it would be unwise for the Zionists to talk openly about the need for ‘brutal compulsion’. We quote a memorandum Ben-Gurion wrote prior to the Extraordinary Zionist Conference at the Biltmore Hotel in New York in May 1942. He wrote that ‘it is impossible to imagine general evacuation’ of the Arab population of Palestine ‘without compulsion, and brutal compulsion’. Dershowitz claims that Ben-Gurion’s subsequent statement – ‘we should in no way make it part of our programme’ – shows that he opposed the transfer of the Arab population and the ‘brutal compulsion’ it would entail. But Ben-Gurion was not rejecting this policy: he was simply noting that the Zionists should not openly proclaim it. Indeed, he said that they should not ‘discourage other people, British or American, who favour transfer from advocating this course, but we should in no way make it part of our programme’.

We close with a final comment about the controversy surrounding our article. Although we are not surprised by the hostility directed at us, we are still disappointed that more attention has not been paid to the substance of the piece. The fact remains that the United States is in deep trouble in the Middle East, and it will not be able to develop effective policies if it is impossible to have a civilised discussion about the role of Israel in American foreign policy.

John Mearsheimer & Stephen Walt
University of Chicago & Harvard University

Vol. 28 No. 10 · 25 May 2006

In their essay ‘The Israel Lobby’, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt invoke comments made by me as evidence for a controversial assertion of their own concerning the motives for the US invasion of Iraq (LRB, 23 March):

Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical … The war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure. According to Philip Zelikow, a former member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, the ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The ‘unstated threat’ was the ‘threat against Israel’, Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002. ‘The American government,’ he added, ‘doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.’

Readers may find it interesting to know what I actually said and how Mearsheimer and Walt appear to have misused my comments.

My talk was on 10 September 2002 at a 9/11 anniversary symposium. I argued that possession of nuclear (or biological) weapons by Saddam Hussein would be very dangerous. Reflecting on my White House work during the Gulf War in 1990-91, I did point out that I believed then, and later, that the most likely direct target of an Iraqi WMD attack would be Israel, but that policymakers had no wish to emphasise this. That said, any US or European government, in 1991 or later, would rightly have regarded an Iraqi nuclear attack on Israel – or on any other country – as a horrific prospect they would do much to prevent.

Neither of these conclusions – that Saddam’s possession of nuclear weapons would be dangerous, or that Israel might be most directly threatened by such weapons – was especially remarkable. These things were understood in 1991. Iraq tried very hard to pull Israel into that war and its politics, ultimately even bombarding Israel with ballistic missiles. The coalition laboured successfully to thwart Saddam and keep Israel out of that war.

None of this, though, bore on the question of what to do about a possible Iraqi WMD programme in 2002. On that issue – whether or when the US ought to go to war with Iraq – I expressed no view in my September 2002 talk, or on any other public occasion during those years.

Nor did I try to explain why the Bush administration went to war, either in 2002 or after the invasion in 2003 or 2004. And in those years I had little special knowledge of those motives. My work on the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (from which I resigned in February 2003) had not involved Iraq.

So how did my views wind up in Mearsheimer and Walt’s essay as evidence that Bush went to war in part for Israel? In 2004, local reports of my September 2002 comments were discovered by the Inter Press Service. To put it mildly, that body has a strong political point of view. It circulated on the web an article headlined ‘War Launched to Protect Israel – Bush Adviser’. Without any evidence other than the old September 2002 quotes, the article’s lead was: ‘Iraq under Saddam Hussein did not pose a threat to the United States but it did to Israel, which is one reason why Washington invaded the Arab country, according to a speech made by a member of a top-level White House intelligence group.’ The claim has bounced around the internet ever since. Mearsheimer and Walt cite this article, which they found in Asia Times Online, as their source for my comments.

The original slur did not deserve a response, but the situation is different when it is repeated by two accredited scholars, and endorsed by publication in the LRB. The claim still has three holes. First, like most of the world, I did think that, if Saddam Hussein possessed nuclear weapons, this would endanger the interests of America and the world in several ways, including the direct threat of a possible strike on Israel. Second, I did not state an opinion about whether this should be a cause for war in 2002-03. Third, I did not state an opinion – or even have any special knowledge – about the motives of the Bush administration in going to war in 2003.

I hope that readers will contrast these points with what Mearsheimer and Walt wrote in the passage quoted above. Readers will also notice that the passage leads with a reference to the ‘Lobby’, of which I am clearly presumed to be a part. There is no evidence for that either.

Philip Zelikow
Washington DC

John Mearsheimer & Stephen Walt write: Philip Zelikow claims he did not say in September 2002 that the present war in Iraq was motivated in good part by concerns about Israel’s security. He suggests that our reference to his remarks came from an unreliable source and says we ‘misused’ his comments. He implies that he was talking mainly about the 1990-91 Gulf War, not the US decision to invade Iraq in March 2003. Furthermore, he maintains that he ‘expressed no view’ on ‘whether or when the US ought to go to war with Iraq’. None of these assertions is correct.

Emad Mekay, who wrote the Asia Times Online article we referenced, is a well-regarded journalist who worked for Reuters and the New York Times before moving to Inter Press Service, a legitimate news agency. He did not rely on ‘local reports’ in writing his story, but had access to a complete and unimpeachable record of Zelikow’s talk. He repeatedly tried to contact Zelikow while writing his story, but his inquiries were not returned.

Below are excerpts from Zelikow’s remarks about Iraq on 10 September 2002 (we have the full text). It shows that 1. he was focusing on the possibility of war with Iraq in 2002-03, not the 1990-91 Gulf War; 2. he supported a new war with Iraq; and 3. he believed Iraq was an imminent threat to Israel, but not to the United States.

Finally… I wanted to offer some comments on Iraq… . I beg your patience, but I think there are some points that are worth making that aren’t being made by either side in the current debate.

The Iraq situation this administration inherited is and has been unsustainable. Ever since 1996 the Iraqi situation has basically unravelled… . So then the real question is, OK, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to end up fixing it? And if you don’t like the administration’s approach, what’s the recommended alternative?

Another thing Americans absorb, and this administration especially, is the lesson of Afghanistan. Because remember we knew that international terrorist groups were plotting to kill Americans in a sanctuary called Afghanistan… [I]n retrospect, it is perfectly clear that only … an [American] invasion could reliably have pre-empted the 9/11 attacks, which relied on people who were being trained in that sanctuary … So what lesson does one take from that with respect to Iraq? Well you can see the lesson this administration has taken from that example. And so contemplate what lesson you take.

Third. The unstated threat. And here I criticise the [Bush] administration a little, because the argument that they make over and over again is that this is about a threat to the United States. And then everybody says: ‘Show me an imminent threat from Iraq to America. Show me, why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us?’ So I’ll tell you what I think the real threat is, and actually has been since 1990. It’s the threat against Israel. And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don’t care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it’s not a popular sell.

Now … if the danger is a biological weapon handed to Hamas, then what’s the American alternative then? Especially if those weapons have developed to the point where they now can deter us from attacking them, because they really can retaliate against us, by then. Play out those scenarios … Don’t look at the ties between Iraq and al-Qaida, but then ask yourself the question: ‘Gee, is Iraq tied to Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the people who are carrying out suicide bombings in Israel?’ Easy question to answer, and the evidence is abundant.

Yes, there are a lot of other problems in the world … My view, by the way, is the more you examine these other problems and try to put together a comprehensive strategy for America and the Middle East, the more I’m driven to the conclusion that it’s better for us to deal with Iraq sooner rather than later. Because those other problems don’t get easier … And the Iraq problem is a peculiar combination at the moment, of being exceptionally dangerous at a time when Iraq is exceptionally weak militarily. Now that’s an appealing combination for immediate action … But … if we wait two years, and then there’s another major terrorist attack against the United States, does it then become easier to act against Iraq, even though the terrorist attack didn’t come from Iraq? No… . [A]t this moment, because of the time we bought in the war against terror, it actually makes it easier to go about Iraq now, than waiting a year or two until the war against terror gets harder again.

In sum, it is Zelikow, not us, who is attempting to rewrite history. He was admirably candid in 2002, but not in 2006.

Vol. 28 No. 11 · 8 June 2006

Alan Dershowitz accuses John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt of ‘quoting David Ben-Gurion out of context so that he appears to be saying the exact opposite of what he actually did say’ (Letters, 20 April). Mearsheimer and Walt accurately quote Ben-Gurion as saying that after Israel became powerful, it would expand to encompass all of Palestine. Dershowitz supplies an ensuing phrase, implying that Ben-Gurion meant only expansion by ‘mutual understanding and Jewish-Arab agreement’. However, a fuller statement, in Michael Bar-Zohar’s biography of Ben-Gurion, Facing a Cruel Mirror, runs:

We shall organise a modern defence force … and then I am certain that we will not be prevented from settling in other parts of the country, either by mutual agreement with our Arab neighbours or by some other means … we will expel the Arabs and take their places … with the force at our disposal.

Perhaps after independence Ben-Gurion changed his mind? Apparently not. Tom Segev, in The First Israelis, quotes him as follows:

Before the founding of the state, on the eve of its creation, our main interest was self-defence … But now the issue at hand is conquest, not self-defence. As for setting the borders – it’s an open-ended matter. In the Bible as well as in history there are all kinds of definitions of the country’s borders, so there’s no real limit.

Jerome Slater
Williamsville, New York

‘We can easily believe,’ John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt write, ‘that Daniel Pipes has never “taken orders” from the lobby, because the Leninist caricature of the lobby depicted in his letter is one that we clearly dismissed. Readers will also note that Pipes does not deny that his organisation, Campus Watch, was created in order to monitor what academics say, write and teach, so as to discourage them from engaging in open discourse about the Middle East’ (Letters, 11 May).

First, Mearsheimer and Walt unconditionally concede they have no information that the alleged ‘lobby’ gives me orders concerning Campus Watch, thus confirming the falsehood of their initial claim. Second, what they dismiss as a ‘Leninist caricature’ of a lobby – one that strategises and gives orders – is the only type of lobby that exists. If no one instructed me to begin Campus Watch, how could Campus Watch’s coming into existence be part of an organised campaign? Third, I deny their point that Campus Watch intends to discourage academics ‘from engaging in open discourse about the Middle East’. As our mission statement explains, the project ‘reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them’.

Campus Watch is to Middle East studies as political analysis to politics, film criticism to movies, and consumer reports to manufacturing: we provide assessments for the public. Unlike politicians, actors and business executives, who accept criticism with good grace, academics howl with umbrage at being judged.

Daniel Pipes
Philadelphia

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt are making a mistake when they say, in their rebuttal of their critics (Letters, 11 May), that the oil embargo of 1973-74, which caused panic among gasoline consumers in the US, was instituted by Opec: it was instituted by a group of Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia, and prompted by support of Israel on the part of the US and the Netherlands during the war with Egypt and Syria. While the embargo lasted, other members of Opec, including some of the Arab exporters, even expanded their exports, so that total Opec exports actually rose during that period, and neither the US nor the Netherlands was specifically targeted.

Salah el Serafy
Arlington, Virginia

Vol. 28 No. 12 · 22 June 2006

Daniel Pipes denies that Campus Watch was established to discourage academics ‘from engaging in open discourse about the Middle East’, and points LRB readers to its mission statement, according to which the project merely ‘reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America, with an aim to improving them’ (Letters, 8 June). This ‘mission statement’ does not date back to the project’s inception.

When Campus Watch was launched, a year after the 11 September attacks, its website described its founders as a group of ‘highly qualified American academics that have banded together in defence of US interests on campus, which includes continued support for Israel’. It spoke of ‘profound mistakes of interpretation’ in Middle East Studies, as well as elements in academia who ‘reject the enduring policies of the US government’. It asked students to supply information about professors who were ‘hostile’ to America or Israel, listed such professors on its website and included ‘dossiers’ of information about them.

After Campus Watch in its original incarnation met with widespread disgust, Pipes made cosmetic changes. The dossiers were dropped in favour of a ‘Survey of Institutions’ (‘For me, “dossier” was just a Frenchword for “file”,’ Pipes explained), and the new mission statement no longer spoke of ‘band[ing] together in defence of US interests on campus’, or of listing those who ‘actively dissociate themselves from the United States’, but rather began with the words Pipes repeats in his letter: ‘Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America, with an aim to improving them.’ The defence of Israeli policies and ideological support for the ‘enduring policies of the US government’ were quietly subsumed into what now purported to be a critique of methodological and pedagogical standards.

Campus Watch continues to indulge in McCarthyite swagger and innuendo; when called on it, however, Pipes and his colleagues take refuge in the anodyne language of the ‘mission statement’. The fact is, Campus Watch’s raison d’être has nothing whatever to do with academic standards. I challenge Pipes to name one instance in which Campus Watch has ever praised, defended or even grudgingly acknowledged the academic integrity of anyone who disagrees with him about US policy towards Israel, or an occasion on which he has found fault with the methodology or pedagogy of any scholar who shares his ideological views on this or related matters.

Curtis Brown
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Quite a few of the attacks on John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, Daniel Pipes’s among them, refuse to accept the possibility that a lobby might lack central organisation yet nonetheless produce apparently co-ordinated action. The Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) movement has exactly these characteristics. It is made up of individuals, groups and organisations that all subscribe to more or less the same principle: in this case, open-source software or freely available content generally. There is no central co-ordinating body or hierarchy of committees, but an attack on any one organisation or individual within FOSS may get a response from many different groups. In spring 2004, Ken Brown of the Alexis de Tocqueville think-tank published a report in which he claimed to make a prima facie case that the Linux operating system is based on plagiarism. Brown’s case was very rapidly exposed as a sham by the FOSS community. And it may well have appeared to him, and to others, that that response was co-ordinated.

John Beattie
Glasgow

Read more...

(originally published on the Voltaire Network)

The international search for missing flight MH 370 showed that Washington was able to track the aircraft well beyond what it has admitted so far and that it waited a week before revealing what it knew. The search also showed that China lacks the refuelling ports to deploy its navy over such a large area. But beyond the news item and the respective strategic capabilities that it brought to light, this enigmatic disappearance has made at least some people happy: Blackstone and Jacob Rothschild.

Jacob Rothschild, chairman of RIT Capital Partners and Advisory Board member of Blackstone. He also serves as Honorary President of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

In the post-Crimea tripolar, geostrategic world of the US, Russia and China, it is imperative to test the West’s overwhelming disinformational news campaigns, against reports from the Russian government’s almost indispensible multimedia website, Russia Today (see pages published on 3/22/14)

As often happens in mysterious "accidents," the unusual disappearance of flight MH 370 Malaysia Airlines - whose various explanations failed to fully satisfy anyone, least of the Chinese persons affected - has given rise to innumerable speculations, some, rather wild and disturbing.

While the war of sanctions by the United States and the European Union against Vladimir Putin was raging on, in a compelling article Russia Today wrote that four days after the disappearance of flight MH 370, a patent for a semiconductor was approved by the U.S. patent Office [1]. Has a patent war been unleashed?

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According to Russia Today, the assignee of the semiconductor patent is Jacob Rothschild, of the controversial and much-legendary dynasty of bankers.

The patent was shared among five principal holders, owning 20 percent each: Freescale Semiconductor Company, located in Austin, Texas, with the other four holders being Chinese nationals hailing from the Chinese city of Suzhou, all of whom worked for the company and were aboard the plane, along with 16 other employees of this same company.

The Russian outlet pointed out that if any patent holder dies, the other owners would share equally the dividends of the deceased, provided that the will is not contested.

With the four Chinese patent-holders now missing and/or killed, this now leaves 100 percent ownership of the patent in the hands of the Texas-based Freescale Semiconductor Company, which, in turn, is partially owned by the shadowy Blackstone Group, a New York-based Private Equity-Investment Banking firm, owned by Israeli-British banker Jacob Rothschild [2].

The inventors and the applicants were the four missing Chinese and the recipient is none other than Freescale Semiconductor. What luck!

Emphasis is laid on the invisible identity of Blackstone, its interconnection with BlackRock and its partnership with Evercore Partnership which, coincidentally, is behind the privatization of PEMEX (Mexican Petroleum Company) [3].

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It emerges that Blackstone begot BlackRock, which is run by double U.S.-Israeli national Larry Fink [4]. Beyond the interconnectivity at the upper echelons between, on the one hand, Blackstone, BlackRock, Rothschild, George Soros, Scotiabank, Evercore Partnership, Protego, and, on the other hand, Kissinger Associates and the controversial AIG insurance group, whose president is the US-Israeli Maurice Hank Greenberg, the corporate identity of Freescale Semiconductor warrants close scrutiny.

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Also intriguing is that among the 239 passengers, 20 were employees of the Pentagon, in addition to the fact that four of the passengers were using dubious passports.

Beyond the inevitable speculations, what is relevant is that these 20 Pentagon employees were likely well-versed in the art of electronic warfare, such as the avoidance of detection by military radar systems [5].

A curious fact as well is that 20 of the missing passengers aboard flight 370 are employees of Freescale Semiconductor, 12 originating from Malaysia and 8 from China.

Freescale Semiconductor boasts that its devices have a wide-range of applications in communications on the battlefield, avionics, missile guidance, electronic warfare and identification of friend or foe.

The controversial Texas company at issue is one of the first semiconductor of its kind in the world, having begun as a division of Motorola, from which it and was then acquired in 2006 by Blackstone, the Carlyle Group and TPG Sovereign Capital.

The Carlyle Group embodies the dynastic nepotism of the Bush family and cronies Frank Carlucci (former National Security Adviser and former Pentagon Secretary) and former British Prime Minister John Major [6], whose representative in Mexico is the controversial Luis Téllez Kuenzler, now in charge of the stock exchange, where a number of odd share price interferences have taken place.

TPG Capital is a powerful investment firm based in Fort Worth, Texas chaired by Israeli-American David Bonderman, whose extravagant excesses include paying US$7M to the Rolling Stones to celebrate his 60th birthday, in 2002.

Freescale Semiconductor specializes in electronic warfare and stealth (“cloak") technology, using strategies of electronic countermeasures (ECM) applied to radars: 1) radar interference; 2) changing targets and; 3) changing the electric power properties of the air.

According to The Daily Beast, an Israeli attack on Iran would go one better than air strikes and probably let loose an electronic war against Iran’s entire electrical system; the Internet, mobile and cellular network, and emergency frequencies for firemen and policemen.

The The Daily Beast further asserts that Israel has developed a weapon capable of mimicking cellular maintenance signals, which effectively stops the transmissions [7]. In the past decade, Israel has amassed a wide range of high-tech weapons worth billions of dollars that would enable it to jam, blind and deafen Tehran’s defenses, in the event of a preemptive air strike.

Better yet: there is a new stealth technology that renders the aircraft invisible to radar and hides it from the human eye, while the high-tech camouflage can create electromagnetic fields, as discussed in military.com [8].

China has accused the U.S. for an escalation in hacking attacks [9], at the same time as Beijing and Washington are each stepping up the arms race in cloak technology for making planes invisible.

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Lee Hamilton, chairman of the Wilson Center. This former Democratic Congressman rescued Ronald Reagan from political disaster during the Iran-Contra scandal. In 2000, he contributed to forging the colonial concept of "responsibility to protect". He co-chaired the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on September 11 that diverted the attention away from the coup focusing only on the attacks. In 2006, he co-chaired the Baker-Hamilton Commission, which had decided on a military halt in the Middle East.

The powerful British military company BAE Systems - linked with the NSA, DHS and the ominous Wilson Center and implicated in the stinking Al-Yamamah scandal - owns the Swedish-founded Adaptiv Program, another firm specializing in cloaking technology designed to hide motor vehicles, extending to boats and helicopters.

Should we see behind the black box of flight MH 370 the machinations of the dismal Blackstone / Rothschild BlackRock financial duo?

 

[1] “United States Patent n°8671381 B1”, March 11, 2014.

[2] "Rothschild hereda una patente de semiconductores al desaparecer el MH370", Russia Today, 22 March 2014.

[3] "BlackRock: el mayor inversionista del mundo detrás de la privatización de Pemex", by Alfredo Jalife-Rahme, La Jornada, 11 December 2013.

[4] “Lessons From Blackstone for BlackRock”, by Jeffrey Goldfarb, The New York Times, January 23, 2014.

[5] “Malaysia jet hidden by Electronic Weaponry? 20 EW defense-linked passengers”, by Deborah Dupre, Examiner, 9 March 2014.

[6] See our file "Carlyle Group".

[7] “Israel’s Secret Iran Attack Plan: Electronic Warfare” by Elie Lake, The Daily Beast, 16 November 2011.

[8] “Invisible Planes: China, US Race for Cloaking Tech”, by Gene J. Koprowski, Fox News, 17 December 2013.

[9] “China points finger at US as hacking attacks soar”, Shanghai Daily, 29 March 2014.

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This article is written by a former MI6 agent named Alastair Crooke (no pun here) - Voxnews knows little of the history or current affiliations of Mr. Crooke and view most of what is emerging from all sources as suspect and propaganda. There is a lot of information here, and all of it must be viewed from the perspective of understanding that most of it pushes an agenda which is not based on truth but the manipulation of the attitudes and behaviors of the populations and usually for political and most importantly financial gain.

BEIRUT -- These are extraordinary times. Extraordinary events are taking place in Iraq (and in the Muslim World). There is the lightening seizure of "Sunni territory" spanning Syria and Iraq (but imagined as the realization of a Sunni "belt" extending across the region). The symbolism is potent in the context of the early history of Islam. The cold ruthlessness of the ISIS military strategy has dazzled and stimulated the ardor of young Sunni Muslims everywhere.

And it has forced the admiration of many in Iraq and the Gulf States. Yet it frightens, too: the flesh creeps with the "march of the beheaders." It is this heady, adrenaline-laden mix of fear, mingling with the euphoric sense that events somehow are mirroring the very laying down of the Islamic Empire, which is seeding fertile ground.

Across the Middle East and Africa, agrarian distress and the Salafist firing up of a Sunni self-perception of victimhood, usurpation and grievance are making for a wide vulnerability to this new collective fervor for Da'ish (ISIS).

Da'ish (ISIS) is not al-Qaeda; it is not an al-Qaeda franchise, nor is it its affiliate. After brief flirtation, it stands severed and in direct opposition to al-Qaeda, which it views as acting in error. (Though it still follows the writings of Abdallah Azzam who was a key intellectual influence on al-Qaeda).

Al-Qaeda emerged from the "myth" that the USSR was "imploded" by the mujahideen of Afghanistan succeeding in forcing its political and economic overextension. It was Abdullah Azzam's analysis of the USSR's vulnerability to such a process which prompted the notion that the U.S. could be similarly imploded -- by "shocking" it into a global overreach. The outcome would ultimately expose the superpower's frailties and hypocrisy to ordinary Muslims -- and therefore cause them to lose their fear of it.

For this objective to be achieved, however, Bin Laden saw a need for Muslims to be united (i.e. sectarianism was discouraged). At this point, the war of "vexing and exhausting" was directed at the "far enemy" through global acts of "shock and awe," but al-Qaeda's was more a virtual war than a hot war fought on the ground.

Zarqawism (used here, loosely to identify the ISIS ideology) grew from different roots: It was not a grandiose scheme to implode the USA but was all about grievance (heavily grounded in the feelings of a displaced and impoverished rural class). It was about a sense of Sunni loss of privilege, power, possession of the state and claimed rights. It was driven by a deep desire for revenge against "usurpers." It had, too, its overtones of a class war (countryside versus a cosmopolitan, affluent elite), but above all, it was deeply rooted in bigotry: a hatred of the "other," and for the Shi'i and Iran in particular.

Zarqawism took root in Iraq in a hot war (local "blood politics" as it were, and not in Bin Laden-esque global paradigms). It was grounded in the context of bitter sectarian struggle (Baghdad was being ethically cleansed) and in the humiliation of the Sunnah (ousted from power and summarily dismissed from the army). Subsequently, Sunnis from Syria fighting the occupation of Iraq (most of the Syrian and Palestinian fighters had gravitated to Zarqawi's groups) carried the Zarqawi "idea" back to the already resentful and aggrieved hinterland of Homs and Hama.

What most characterized the Zarqawi doctrine was the absorption of an intolerant Wahhabism that demanded the purging -- by the blade of a sword -- of a "defiled" Islam. It was to be "purified" down to a single voice, a unique authority, and a single leadership for Islam. Through such purification, and in pursuing a course of deliberate ruthlessness, Shariah and the Islamic State would be re-constructed.

What sets Zarqawi apart from al-Qaeda are two elements: Firstly, a radical refusal to accept conventional historical readings about how the Islamic state was formed. In this historical revisionism, it was the "fighting-scholars" and their armed followers, fighting on behalf of Islam, who founded the State (this is NOT the conventional reading).

Thus, whilst Zarqawism adopts Wahhabi "puritanism," it breaks with it in a truly revolutionary way by denying the Saudi Kingdom any legitimacy as founders of a State, as the head of the Mosque, or as interpreter of the Qur'an. All these attributes ISIS takes for itself. In its view ISIS itself is the State. This constitutes a complete refutation of all aspects of Sunni temporal and religious authority.

Although Zarqawism follows Azzam in regarding the implosion of the U.S. as a major aim, in practice, ISIS filters its understanding of contemporary politics through the prism of the Prophet's migration from Mecca, his struggle with the Meccans and through ISIS' reading of the first Caliph, Abu Bakr's, mode of violent warfare.

Symbolically this is very important. Thus, when the Prophet's "Muslim project" was nearly collapsed at the battle of Uhud by the forces of Mecca, today's reversals to the "divine mission" of ISIS in Syria are seen as having symbolic equivalence -- as today's 'Uhud" -- that is, ISIS' setback in Syria is interpreted by many as an existential setback to the Sunni project as a whole.

IRAN IS THE NEW 'FAR ENEMY'

But who then, stands for the Meccans in this allegory? It is not America; it is Iran. Lip service is paid to the "far enemy," but the symbolism points unmistakably to the near enemy: Iran.

In Iraq today, it is clear that ISIS sees the path toward consolidating the Islamic State to have already passed through the first stage (vexation operations, dispersing the enemy's strength and over-extending its resources).

Here again, the question arises, to which "enemy" does ISIS refer? Well, ISIS does not say; but Gulf leaders make this abundantly clear when they tell Westerners that if only Bashar al-Assad and Nouri al-Maliki were to be removed, all would be resolved, and peace would return to the Middle East (both, of course, bring perceived as obstacles to regional Sunni hegemony).

So today, ISIS regards Iraq (and eastern Syria) to be in the second stage (the "Management of Savagery") in the progress toward the consolidation of the Caliphate (the third stage). What does this mean; and what does it imply for the conduct of next period?

The term "management or administration of savagery," a term detailed in Abu Bakr Naji's treatise, in fact refers to that hiatus which occurs between the waning of one power and the consolidation of power of another. What is being assumed here is that a certain chaos will pertain, and that the disputed territory will be ravaged by violence as power oscillates back and forth between the "old" power and its incoming successor (the Islamic State).

ESTABLISHING A FIGHTING SOCIETY

In this period, according to its literature, the ISIS will have limited aims: achieving internal security and preserving it; fixing its frontiers; feeding the population; establishing Shariah and Islamic justice -- and most importantly fixing the establishment of a "fighting society," at all levels within the community.

According to The Management of Savagery, in this stage, security will require the elimination of spies and "deterring the hypocrites with proof and other means and forcing them to repress and conceal their hypocrisy, to hide their discouraged opinions, and to comply with those in authority, until their evil is put in check." In short, we might expect that this will comprise ISIS' aims for the coming period.

In other words, any move on Baghdad, which Da'ish insists will come, is unlikely to be imminent, but will have to wait until the area already seized is 'secured', and its frontiers controlled.

PLUNDERING OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES

This phase also marks the "plundering the financial resources" for the purposes of the "project." The implication here is that ISIS has as its aim eventually to become financially self-sufficient. Indeed, it clearly has been pursuing this objective in Syria (taking oil fields, seizing the arms warehouses of the SNC, and selling to Turks much of the industrial infrastructure of Aleppo and northern Syria).

This also suggests that, whilst ISIS is not presently contesting militarily the Peshmerga takeover in Kirkuk (with its substantial oil resources), it is only a matter of time before Da'ish seeks to acquire such an obvious source of funding - just as it has fought other jihadist groups in Syria for control of Raqa'a's oil revenue.

But this second phase (administering the violent hiatus until the State is consolidated) -- more ominously -- signals the start of "massacring the enemy and making him frightened." The literature underlines that anyone who has actually experienced conflict (in contrast to those who simply theorize about it) understands that slaughter and striking fear into the hearts of the enemy is in the nature of war.

The point is made by citing the Companions (of the Prophet) who "burned (people) with fire, even though it is odious, because they knew the effect of rough violence in times of need."

NO ROOM FOR MERCY

The author of The Management of Savagery treatise bluntly states that there is no room for "softness": "Softness" is the ingredient for failure: "our enemies will not be merciful to us, so it compels us to make them think one thousand times, before they dare attack us."

It is here that we see the second key Zarqawrist notion: the reading given by ISIS to the military campaigns conducted by first Caliph. This "reading" highlights (and seeks to legitimize) the need to use "rough violence" during this period of hiatus, when Islamic power was not yet fully consolidated. It was a moment, following the death of the Prophet that several Arab tribes refused to pay Zakat to Abu Bakr (as they had earlier to the Prophet when he was alive), and held (in accordance with the prevailing Arab tradition) that their tribal allegiance to the Prophet naturally expired with the leader's death. There followed the brutal Wars of the Ridda (or the Wars of Apostasy).

What is significant here, too, is the narrow construction placed on apostasy -- a definition to which Da'ish adheres closely.

In sum, the beheadings and other violence practiced by ISIS are not some whimsical, crazed fanaticism, but a very deliberate, considered strategy. The military strategy pursued by ISIS in Iraq, too, is neither spontaneous nor some populist adventure, but rather reflects very professional well-prepared military planning.

The seemingly random violence has a precise purpose: It's aim is to strike huge fear; to break the psychology of a people -- and, according to reports, this is exactly what Da'ish has already succeeded in doing for many of the residents of Baghdad. They are understandably very frightened.

A POLICY OF POLARIZATION

For now, ISIS is focused on adding to the pressures on the city's population by seeking to seize its sources of fuel (the Baiji refinery) and its water supply (the Haditha dam). Da'ish's explicit purpose -- here with Baghdad as it has been in Syria -- is to polarize the population, explains The Management of Savagery author:

"By polarization here, I mean dragging the masses into the battle such that polarization is created between all of the people. Thus, one group of them will go to the side of the people of truth, another group will go to the side of the people of falsehood, and a third group will remain neutral -- awaiting the outcome of the battle in order to join the victor. We must attract the sympathy of this latter group, and make it hope for the victory of the people of faith, especially since this group has a decisive role in the later stages of the present battle. Dragging the masses into the battle requires more actions which will inflame opposition and which will make the people enter into the battle, willing or unwilling, such that each individual will go to the side which he supports. We must make this battle very violent, such that death is a heartbeat away, so that the two groups will realize that entering this battle will frequently lead to death. That will be a powerful motive for the individual to choose to fight in the ranks of the people of truth in order to die well, which is better than dying for falsehood and losing both this world and the next." -- Abu Bakr Naji, The Management of Savagery

This is the likely strategy facing the government of Iraq. Nouri al-Malaki is busy assembling and preparing a vast Shi'a army. Most likely he initially will concentrate on halting ISIS' momentum, and, by delivering a sharp military defeat, will hope to break Da'ish's magic spell for the many Sunnis who have been dazzled by its bold advance across Iraq.

He has sought to re-take Takrit, leaving the much more difficult task of digging them out from Mosul to a later time. (Those who remember the siege of the Naher al-Barad Camp in northern Lebanon will recall that it took the Lebanese army three and a half months -- at the loss of more than 300 men -- to clear this Palestinian refugee camp from no more than a hundred odd ISIS-type jihadists. Naher al-Barad was utterly destroyed in the process).

The success (or failure) of al-Maliki's defense -- against Da'ish -- will pivot around the issue of polarization. Too much force, too many civilian casualties, too much heavy weaponry will polarize the Sunni population to Da'ish's advantage; but too little -- may risk adding to ISIS' inflated reputation.

There is also a real risk of this conflict metamorphosing into a polarized Sunni-Shi'a conflict -- an outcome that Iran will be urging al-Maliki to avoid. A first priority will be to protect the Shi'i shrines. Iran does not wish to get directly involved in the fighting (and does not see a need at this stage, so to do), but rather will seek to continue to provide Iraq with discreet support and advice.

With customary chutzpah, the mainstream liberal interventionist media are promoting a facile narrative that suggests the Iraqi Shi'i militias' defensive mobilization to be essentially no different to the actions of ISIS.

The adoption of this narrative reflects both just how deeply the Sunni discourse of dispossession and victimhood have been uncritically absorbed by the West and come to be viewed as giving legitimacy to takfiri jihadism; and it reflects how little the dangers which ISIS represents are well understood.

ISIS has just declared war in Lebanon. Its successes (unless quickly halted) will inspire youth across the Muslim world. The ground has been well prepared by the outpourings of 24 hour Salafist television and radio broadcasts and increasingly important social media PR campaigns, beamed throughout the Middle East and into an increasingly receptive Africa. Much hangs on the outcome of events in Iraq.

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“Greater Israel”: The Zionist Plan for the Middle East

The Infamous "Oded Yinon Plan". Introduction by Michel Chossudovsky

 

This article was published on Global Research April 29, 2013.

Global Research Editor’s Note

The following document pertaining to the formation of “Greater Israel” constitutes the cornerstone of powerful Zionist factions within the current Netanyahu government, the Likud party, as well as within the Israeli military and intelligence establishment.

According to the founding father of Zionism Theodore Herzl, “the area of the Jewish State stretches: “From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.”  According to Rabbi Fischmann,  “The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon.”

When viewed in the current context, the war on Iraq, the 2006 war on Lebanon, the 2011 war on Libya, the ongoing war on Syria, not to mention the process of regime change in Egypt, must be understood in relation to the Zionist Plan for the Middle East. The latter consists in weakening and eventually fracturing neighboring Arab states as part of an Israeli expansionist project.

“Greater Israel” consists in an area extending from the Nile Valley to the Euphrates.

The Zionist project supports the Jewish settlement movement. More broadly it involves a policy of excluding Palestinians from Palestine leading to the eventual annexation of both the West Bank and Gaza to the State of Israel.

Greater Israel would create a number of proxy States. It would include parts of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the Sinai, as well as parts of  Iraq and Saudi Arabia. (See map).

According to Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya in a 2011 Global Research article,   The Yinon Plan was a continuation of Britain’s colonial design in the Middle East:

“[The Yinon plan] is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states.

Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge from an Arab state. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one for Shiite Muslims and the other for Sunni Muslims. The first step towards establishing this was a war between Iraq and Iran, which the Yinon Plan discusses.

The Atlantic, in 2008, and the U.S. military’s Armed Forces Journal, in 2006, both published widely circulated maps that closely followed the outline of the Yinon Plan. Aside from a divided Iraq, which the Biden Plan also calls for, the Yinon Plan calls for a divided Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. The partitioning of Iran, Turkey, Somalia, and Pakistan also all fall into line with these views. The Yinon Plan also calls for dissolution in North Africa and forecasts it as starting from Egypt and then spilling over into Sudan, Libya, and the rest of the region.

Greater Israel” requires the breaking up of the existing Arab states into small states.

“The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states. Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state. Consequently, the Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel’s satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation…  This is not a new idea, nor does it surface for the first time in Zionist strategic thinking. Indeed, fragmenting all Arab states into smaller units has been a recurrent theme.” (Yinon Plan, see below)

Viewed in this context, the war on Syria is part of the process of Israeli territorial expansion. Israeli intelligence working hand in glove with the US, Turkey and NATO is directly supportive of the Al Qaeda terrorist mercenaries inside Syria.

The Zionist Project also requires the destabilization of Egypt, the creation of factional divisions within Egypt as instrumented by the “Arab Spring” leading to the formation of a sectarian based State dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, April 29, 2013


The Zionist Plan for the Middle East 

Translated and edited by

Israel Shahak

The Israel of Theodore Herzl (1904) and of Rabbi Fischmann (1947)

In his Complete Diaries, Vol. II. p. 711, Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism, says that the area of the Jewish State stretches: “From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.”

Rabbi Fischmann, member of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared in his testimony to the U.N. Special Committee of Enquiry on 9 July 1947: “The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon.”

from

Oded Yinon’s

“A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”

Published by the

Association of Arab-American University Graduates, Inc.

Belmont, Massachusetts, 1982

Special Document No. 1 (ISBN 0-937694-56-8)

Table of Contents

  Publisher’s Note1

The Association of Arab-American University Graduates finds it compelling to inaugurate its new publication series, Special Documents, with Oded Yinon’s article which appeared in Kivunim (Directions), the journal of the Department of Information of the World Zionist Organization. Oded Yinon is an Israeli journalist and was formerly attached to the Foreign Ministry of Israel. To our knowledge, this document is the most explicit, detailed and unambiguous statement to date of the Zionist strategy in the Middle East. Furthermore, it stands as an accurate representation of the “vision” for the entire Middle East of the presently ruling Zionist regime of Begin, Sharon and Eitan. Its importance, hence, lies not in its historical value but in the nightmare which it presents.

2

The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states. Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state. Consequently, the Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel’s satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation.

3

This is not a new idea, nor does it surface for the first time in Zionist strategic thinking. Indeed, fragmenting all Arab states into smaller units has been a recurrent theme. This theme has been documented on a very modest scale in the AAUG publication,  Israel’s Sacred Terrorism (1980), by Livia Rokach. Based on the memoirs of Moshe Sharett, former Prime Minister of Israel, Rokach’s study documents, in convincing detail, the Zionist plan as it applies to Lebanon and as it was prepared in the mid-fifties.

4

The first massive Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1978 bore this plan out to the minutest detail. The second and more barbaric and encompassing Israeli invasion of Lebanon on June 6, 1982, aims to effect certain parts of this plan which hopes to see not only Lebanon, but Syria and Jordan as well, in fragments. This ought to make mockery of Israeli public claims regarding their desire for a strong and independent Lebanese central government. More accurately, they want a Lebanese central government that sanctions their regional imperialist designs by signing a peace treaty with them. They also seek acquiescence in their designs by the Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian and other Arab governments as well as by the Palestinian people. What they want and what they are planning for is not an Arab world, but a world of Arab fragments that is ready to succumb to Israeli hegemony. Hence, Oded Yinon in his essay, “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980′s,” talks about “far-reaching opportunities for the first time since 1967″ that are created by the “very stormy situation [that] surrounds Israel.”

5

The Zionist policy of displacing the Palestinians from Palestine is very much an active policy, but is pursued more forcefully in times of conflict, such as in the 1947-1948 war and in the 1967 war. An appendix entitled  ”Israel Talks of a New Exodus” is included in this publication to demonstrate past Zionist dispersals of Palestinians from their homeland and to show, besides the main Zionist document we present, other Zionist planning for the de-Palestinization of Palestine.

6

It is clear from the Kivunim document, published in February, 1982, that the “far-reaching opportunities” of which Zionist strategists have been thinking are the same “opportunities” of which they are trying to convince the world and which they claim were generated by their June, 1982 invasion. It is also clear that the Palestinians were never the sole target of Zionist plans, but the priority target since their viable and independent presence as a people negates the essence of the Zionist state. Every Arab state, however, especially those with cohesive and clear nationalist directions, is a real target sooner or later.

7

Contrasted with the detailed and unambiguous Zionist strategy elucidated in this document, Arab and Palestinian strategy, unfortunately, suffers from ambiguity and incoherence. There is no indication that Arab strategists have internalized the Zionist plan in its full ramifications. Instead, they react with incredulity and shock whenever a new stage of it unfolds. This is apparent in Arab reaction, albeit muted, to the Israeli siege of Beirut. The sad fact is that as long as the Zionist strategy for the Middle East is not taken seriously Arab reaction to any future siege of other Arab capitals will be the same.

Khalil Nakhleh

July 23, 1982

Foreward

by Israel Shahak

1

The following essay represents, in my opinion, the accurate and detailed plan of the present Zionist regime (of Sharon and Eitan) for the Middle East which is based on the division of the whole area into small states, and the dissolution of all the existing Arab states. I will comment on the military aspect ofthis plan in a concluding note. Here I want to draw the attention of the readers to several important points:

2

1. The idea that all the Arab states should be broken down, by Israel, into small units, occurs again and again in Israeli strategic thinking. For example, Ze’ev Schiff, the military correspondent of Ha’aretz (and probably the most knowledgeable in Israel, on this topic) writes about the “best” that can happen for Israeli interests in Iraq: “The dissolution of Iraq into a Shi’ite state, a Sunni state and the separation of the Kurdish part” (Ha’aretz 6/2/1982). Actually, this aspect of the plan is very old.

3

2. The strong connection with Neo-Conservative thought in the USA is very prominent, especially in the author’s notes. But, while lip service is paid to the idea of the “defense of the West” from Soviet power, the real aim of the author, and of the present Israeli establishment is clear: To make an Imperial Israel into a world power. In other words, the aim of Sharon is to deceive the Americans after he has deceived all the rest.

4

3. It is obvious that much of the relevant data, both in the notes and in the text, is garbled or omitted, such as the financial help of the U.S. to Israel. Much of it is pure fantasy. But, the plan is not to beregarded as not influential, or as not capable of realization for a short time. The plan follows faithfully the geopolitical ideas current in Germany of 1890-1933, which were swallowed whole by Hitler and the Nazi movement, and determined their aims for East Europe. Those aims, especially the division of the existing states, were carried out in 1939-1941, and only an alliance on the global scale prevented their consolidation for a period of time.

5

The notes by the author follow the text. To avoid confusion, I did not add any notes of my own, but have put the substance of them into this foreward and the conclusion at the end. I have, however, emphasized some portions of the text.

Israel Shahak

June 13, 1982


 

A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties

by Oded Yinon

This essay originally appeared in Hebrew in KIVUNIM (Directions), A Journal for Judaism and Zionism; Issue No, 14–Winter, 5742, February 1982, Editor: Yoram Beck. Editorial Committee: Eli Eyal, Yoram Beck, Amnon Hadari, Yohanan Manor, Elieser Schweid. Published by the Department of Publicity/The World Zionist Organization, Jerusalem.

1

At the outset of the nineteen eighties the State of Israel is in need of a new perspective as to its place, its aims and national targets, at home and abroad. This need has become even more vital due to a number of central processes which the country, the region and the world are undergoing. We are living today in the early stages of a new epoch in human history which is not at all similar to its predecessor, and its characteristics are totally different from what we have hitherto known. That is why we need an understanding of the central processes which typify this historical epoch on the one hand, and on the other hand we need a world outlook and an operational strategy in accordance with the new conditions. The existence, prosperity and steadfastness of the Jewish state will depend upon its ability to adopt a new framework for its domestic and foreign affairs.

2

This epoch is characterized by several traits which we can already diagnose, and which symbolize a genuine revolution in our present lifestyle. The dominant process is the breakdown of the rationalist, humanist outlook as the major cornerstone supporting the life and achievements of Western civilization since the Renaissance. The political, social and economic views which have emanated from this foundation have been based on several “truths” which are presently disappearing–for example, the view that man as an individual is the center of the universe and everything exists in order to fulfill his basic material needs. This position is being invalidated in the present when it has become clear that the amount of resources in the cosmos does not meet Man’s requirements, his economic needs or his demographic constraints. In a world in which there are four billion human beings and economic and energy resources which do not grow proportionally to meet the needs of mankind, it is unrealistic to expect to fulfill the main requirement of Western Society, 1 i.e., the wish and aspiration for boundless consumption. The view that ethics plays no part in determining the direction Man takes, but rather his material needs do–that view is becoming prevalent today as we see a world in which nearly all values are disappearing. We are losing the ability to assess the simplest things, especially when they concern the simple question of what is Good and what is Evil.

3

The vision of man’s limitless aspirations and abilities shrinks in the face of the sad facts of life, when we witness the break-up of world order around us. The view which promises liberty and freedom to mankind seems absurd in light of the sad fact that three fourths of the human race lives under totalitarian regimes. The views concerning equality and social justice have been transformed by socialism and especially by Communism into a laughing stock. There is no argument as to the truth of these two ideas, but it is clear that they have not been put into practice properly and the majority of mankind has lost the liberty, the freedom and the opportunity for equality and justice. In this nuclear world in which we are (still) living in relative peace for thirty years, the concept of peace and coexistence among nations has no meaning when a superpower like the USSR holds a military and political doctrine of the sort it has: that not only is a nuclear war possible and necessary in order to achieve the ends of Marxism, but that it is possible to survive after it, not to speak of the fact that one can be victorious in it.2

4

The essential concepts of human society, especially those of the West, are undergoing a change due to political, military and economic transformations. Thus, the nuclear and conventional might of the USSR has transformed the epoch that has just ended into the last respite before the great saga that will demolish a large part of our world in a multi-dimensional global war, in comparison with which the past world wars will have been mere child’s play. The power of nuclear as well as of conventional weapons, their quantity, their precision and quality will turn most of our world upside down within a few years, and we must align ourselves so as to face that in Israel. That is, then, the main threat to our existence and that of the Western world. 3 The war over resources in the world, the Arab monopoly on oil, and the need of the West to import most of its raw materials from the Third World, are transforming the world we know, given that one of the major aims of the USSR is to defeat the West by gaining control over the gigantic resources in the Persian Gulf and in the southern part of Africa, in which the majority of world minerals are located. We can imagine the dimensions of the global confrontation which will face us in the future.

5

The Gorshkov doctrine calls for Soviet control of the oceans and mineral rich areas of the Third World. That together with the present Soviet nuclear doctrine which holds that it is possible to manage, win and survive a nuclear war, in the course of which the West’s military might well be destroyed and its inhabitants made slaves in the service of Marxism-Leninism, is the main danger to world peace and to our own existence. Since 1967, the Soviets have transformed Clausewitz’ dictum into “War is the continuation of policy in nuclear means,” and made it the motto which guides all their policies. Already today they are busy carrying out their aims in our region and throughout the world, and the need to face them becomes the major element in our country’s security policy and of course that of the rest of the Free World. That is our major foreign challenge.4

6

The Arab Moslem world, therefore, is not the major strategic problem which we shall face in the Eighties, despite the fact that it carries the main threat against Israel, due to its growing military might. This world, with its ethnic minorities, its factions and internal crises, which is astonishingly self-destructive, as we can see in Lebanon, in non-Arab Iran and now also in Syria, is unable to deal successfully with its fundamental problems and does not therefore constitute a real threat against the State of Israel in the long run, but only in the short run where its immediate military power has great import. In the long run, this world will be unable to exist within its present framework in the areas around us without having to go through genuine revolutionary changes. The Moslem Arab World is built like a temporary house of cards put together by foreigners (France and Britain in the Nineteen Twenties), without the wishes and desires of the inhabitants having been taken into account. It was arbitrarily divided into 19 states, all made of combinations of minorites and ethnic groups which are hostile to one another, so that every Arab Moslem state nowadays faces ethnic social destruction from within, and in some a civil war is already raging. 5 Most of the Arabs, 118 million out of 170 million, live in Africa, mostly in Egypt (45 million today).

7

Apart from Egypt, all the Maghreb states are made up of a mixture of Arabs and non-Arab Berbers. In Algeria there is already a civil war raging in the Kabile mountains between the two nations in the country. Morocco and Algeria are at war with each other over Spanish Sahara, in addition to the internal struggle in each of them. Militant Islam endangers the integrity of Tunisia and Qaddafi organizes wars which are destructive from the Arab point of view, from a country which is sparsely populated and which cannot become a powerful nation. That is why he has been attempting unifications in the past with states that are more genuine, like Egypt and Syria. Sudan, the most torn apart state in the Arab Moslem world today is built upon four groups hostile to each other, an Arab Moslem Sunni minority which rules over a majority of non-Arab Africans, Pagans, and Christians. In Egypt there is a Sunni Moslem majority facing a large minority of Christians which is dominant in upper Egypt: some 7 million of them, so that even Sadat, in his speech on May 8, expressed the fear that they will want a state of their own, something like a “second” Christian Lebanon in Egypt.

8

All the Arab States east of Israel are torn apart, broken up and riddled with inner conflict even more than those of the Maghreb. Syria is fundamentally no different from Lebanon except in the strong military regime which rules it. But the real civil war taking place nowadays between the Sunni majority and the Shi’ite Alawi ruling minority (a mere 12% of the population) testifies to the severity of the domestic trouble.

9

Iraq is, once again, no different in essence from its neighbors, although its majority is Shi’ite and the ruling minority Sunni. Sixty-five percent of the population has no say in politics, in which an elite of 20 percent holds the power. In addition there is a large Kurdish minority in the north, and if it weren’t for the strength of the ruling regime, the army and the oil revenues, Iraq’s future state would be no different than that of Lebanon in the past or of Syria today. The seeds of inner conflict and civil war are apparent today already, especially after the rise of Khomeini to power in Iran, a leader whom the Shi’ites in Iraq view as their natural leader.

10

All the Gulf principalities and Saudi Arabia are built upon a delicate house of sand in which there is only oil. In Kuwait, the Kuwaitis constitute only a quarter of the population. In Bahrain, the Shi’ites are the majority but are deprived of power. In the UAE, Shi’ites are once again the majority but the Sunnis are in power. The same is true of Oman and North Yemen. Even in the Marxist South Yemen there is a sizable Shi’ite minority. In Saudi Arabia half the population is foreign, Egyptian and Yemenite, but a Saudi minority holds power.

11

Jordan is in reality Palestinian, ruled by a Trans-Jordanian Bedouin minority, but most of the army and certainly the bureaucracy is now Palestinian. As a matter of fact Amman is as Palestinian as Nablus. All of these countries have powerful armies, relatively speaking. But there is a problem there too. The Syrian army today is mostly Sunni with an Alawi officer corps, the Iraqi army Shi’ite with Sunni commanders. This has great significance in the long run, and that is why it will not be possible to retain the loyalty of the army for a long time except where it comes to the only common denominator: The hostility towards Israel, and today even that is insufficient.

12

Alongside the Arabs, split as they are, the other Moslem states share a similar predicament. Half of Iran’s population is comprised of a Persian speaking group and the other half of an ethnically Turkish group. Turkey’s population comprises a Turkish Sunni Moslem majority, some 50%, and two large minorities, 12 million Shi’ite Alawis and 6 million Sunni Kurds. In Afghanistan there are 5 million

Shi’ites who constitute one third of the population. In Sunni Pakistan there are 15 million Shi’ites who endanger the existence of that state.

13

This national ethnic minority picture extending from Morocco to India and from Somalia to Turkey points to the absence of stability and a rapid degeneration in the entire region. When this picture is added to the economic one, we see how the entire region is built like a house of cards, unable to withstand its severe problems.

14

In this giant and fractured world there are a few wealthy groups and a huge mass of poor people. Most of the Arabs have an average yearly income of 300 dollars. That is the situation in Egypt, in most of the Maghreb countries except for Libya, and in Iraq. Lebanon is torn apart and its economy is falling to pieces. It is a state in which there is no centralized power, but only 5 de facto sovereign authorities (Christian in the north, supported by the Syrians and under the rule of the Franjieh clan, in the East an area of direct Syrian conquest, in the center a Phalangist controlled Christian enclave, in the south and up to the Litani river a mostly Palestinian region controlled by the PLO and Major Haddad’s state of Christians and half a million Shi’ites). Syria is in an even graver situation and even the assistance she will obtain in the future after the unification with Libya will not be sufficient for dealing with the basic problems of existence and the maintenance of a large army. Egypt is in the worst situation: Millions are on the verge of hunger, half the labor force is unemployed, and housing is scarce in this most densely populated area of the world. Except for the army, there is not a single department operating efficiently and the state is in a permanent state of bankruptcy and depends entirely on American foreign assistance granted since the peace.6

15

In the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt there is the largest accumulation of money and oil in the world, but those enjoying it are tiny elites who lack a wide base of support and self-confidence, something that no army can guarantee. 7 The Saudi army with all its equipment cannot defend the regime from real dangers at home or abroad, and what took place in Mecca in 1980 is only an example. A sad and very stormy situation surrounds Israel and creates challenges for it, problems, risks but also far-reaching opportunities for the first time since 1967. Chances are that opportunities missed at that timewill become achievable in the Eighties to an extent and along dimensions which we cannot even imagine today.

16

The “peace” policy and the return of territories, through a dependence upon the US, precludes the realization of the new option created for us. Since 1967, all the governments of Israel have tied our national aims down to narrow political needs, on the one hand, and on the other to destructive opinions at home which neutralized our capacities both at home and abroad. Failing to take steps towards the Arab population in the new territories, acquired in the course of a war forced upon us, is the major strategic error committed by Israel on the morning after the Six Day War. We could have saved ourselves all the bitter and dangerous conflict since then if we had given Jordan to the Palestinians who live west of the Jordan river. By doing that we would have neutralized the Palestinian problem which we nowadays face, and to which we have found solutions that are really no solutions at all, such as territorial compromise or autonomy which amount, in fact, to the same thing. 8 Today, we suddenly face immense opportunities for transforming the situation thoroughly and this we must do in the coming decade, otherwise we shall not survive as a state.

17

In the course of the Nineteen Eighties, the State of Israel will have to go through far-reaching changes in its political and economic regime domestically, along with radical changes in its foreign policy, in order to stand up to the global and regional challenges of this new epoch. The loss of the Suez Canal oil fields, of the immense potential of the oil, gas and other natural resources in the Sinai peninsula which is geomorphologically identical to the rich oil-producing countries in the region, will result in an energy drain in the near future and will destroy our domestic economy: one quarter of our present GNP as well as one third of the budget is used for the purchase of oil. 9 The search for raw materials in the Negev and on the coast will not, in the near future, serve to alter that state of affairs.

18

(Regaining) the Sinai peninsula with its present and potential resources is therefore a political priority which is obstructed by the Camp David and the peace agreements. The fault for that lies of course withthe present Israeli government and the governments which paved the road to the policy of territorial compromise, the Alignment governments since 1967. The Egyptians will not need to keep the peace treaty after the return of the Sinai, and they will do all they can to return to the fold of the Arab world and to the USSR in order to gain support and military assistance. American aid is guaranteed only for a short while, for the terms of the peace and the weakening of the U.S. both at home and abroad will bring about a reduction in aid. Without oil and the income from it, with the present enormous expenditure, we will not be able to get through 1982 under the present conditions and we will have to act in order to return the situation to the status quo which existed in Sinai prior to Sadat’s visit and the mistaken peace agreement signed with him in March 1979. 10

19

Israel has two major routes through which to realize this purpose, one direct and the other indirect. The direct option is the less realistic one because of the nature of the regime and government in Israel as well as the wisdom of Sadat who obtained our withdrawal from Sinai, which was, next to the war of 1973, his major achievement since he took power. Israel will not unilaterally break the treaty, neither today, nor in 1982, unless it is very hard pressed economically and politically and Egypt provides Israel with the excuse to take the Sinai back into our hands for the fourth time in our short history. What is lefttherefore, is the indirect option. The economic situation in Egypt, the nature of the regime and its pan-

Arab policy, will bring about a situation after April 1982 in which Israel will be forced to act directly or indirectly in order to regain control over Sinai as a strategic, economic and energy reserve for the long run. Egypt does not constitute a military strategic problem due to its internal conflicts and it could bedriven back to the post 1967 war situation in no more than one day. 11

20

The myth of Egypt as the strong leader of the Arab World was demolished back in 1956 and definitely did not survive 1967, but our policy, as in the return of the Sinai, served to turn the myth into “fact.” In reality, however, Egypt’s power in proportion both to Israel alone and to the rest of the Arab World has gone down about 50 percent since 1967. Egypt is no longer the leading political power in the Arab World and is economically on the verge of a crisis. Without foreign assistance the crisis will come tomorrow. 12 In the short run, due to the return of the Sinai, Egypt will gain several advantages at our expense, but only in the short run until 1982, and that will not change the balance of power to its benefit, and will possibly bring about its downfall. Egypt, in its present domestic political picture, is already a corpse, all the more so if we take into account the growing Moslem-Christian rift. Breaking Egypt down territorially into distinct geographical regions is the political aim of Israel in the Nineteen Eighties on its Western front.

21

Egypt is divided and torn apart into many foci of authority. If Egypt falls apart, countries like Libya, Sudan or even the more distant states will not continue to exist in their present form and will join the downfall and dissolution of Egypt. The vision of a Christian Coptic State in Upper Egypt alongside a number of weak states with very localized power and without a centralized government as to date, is the key to a historical development which was only set back by the peace agreement but which seems inevitable in the long run. 13

22

The Western front, which on the surface appears more problematic, is in fact less complicated than the Eastern front, in which most of the events that make the headlines have been taking place recently. Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precendent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unqiue areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, andcertainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today. 14

23

Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger thanSyria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman timesis possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north. It is possible that the present Iranian-Iraqi confrontation will deepen this polarization. 15

24

The entire Arabian peninsula is a natural candidate for dissolution due to internal and external pressures, and the matter is inevitable especially in Saudi Arabia. Regardless of whether its economic might based on oil remains intact or whether it is diminished in the long run, the internal rifts and breakdowns are a clear and natural development in light of the present political structure. 16

25

Jordan constitutes an immediate strategic target in the short run but not in the long run, for it does notconstitute a real threat in the long run after its dissolution, the termination of the lengthy rule of King Hussein and the transfer of power to the Palestinians in the short run.

26

There is no chance that Jordan will continue to exist in its present structure for a long time, and Israel’s policy, both in war and in peace, ought to be directed at the liquidation of Jordan under the present regime and the transfer of power to the Palestinian majority. Changing the regime east of the river will also cause the termination of the problem of the territories densely populated with Arabs west of the Jordan. Whether in war or under conditions of peace, emigration from the territories and economic demographic freeze in them, are the guarantees for the coming change on both banks of the river, and we ought to be active in order to accelerate this process in the nearest future. The autonomy plan oughtalso to be rejected, as well as any compromise or division of the territories for, given the plans of the PLO and those of the Israeli Arabs themselves, the Shefa’amr plan of September 1980, it is not possible to go on living in this country in the present situation without separating the two nations, the Arabs to Jordan and the Jews to the areas west of the river. Genuine coexistence and peace will reign over theland only when the Arabs understand that without Jewish rule between the Jordan and the sea they will have neither existence nor security. A nation of their own and security will be theirs only in Jordan. 17

27

Within Israel the distinction between the areas of ’67 and the territories beyond them, those of ’48, has always been meaningless for Arabs and nowadays no longer has any significance for us. The problem should be seen in its entirety without any divisions as of ’67. It should be clear, under any future political situation or military constellation, that the solution of the problem of the indigenous Arabs will come only when they recognize the existence of Israel in secure borders up to the Jordan river and beyond it, as our existential need in this difficult epoch, the nuclear epoch which we shall soon enter. Itis no longer possible to live with three fourths of the Jewish population on the dense shoreline which is so dangerous in a nuclear epoch.

28

Dispersal of the population is therefore a domestic strategic aim of the highest order; otherwise, we shall cease to exist within any borders. Judea, Samaria and the Galilee are our sole guarantee for national existence, and if we do not become the majority in the mountain areas, we shall not rule in the country and we shall be like the Crusaders, who lost this country which was not theirs anyhow, and in which they were foreigners to begin with. Rebalancing the country demographically, strategically and economically is the highest and most central aim today. Taking hold of the mountain watershed from Beersheba to the Upper Galilee is the national aim generated by the major strategic consideration which is settling the mountainous part of the country that is empty of Jews today. l8

29

Realizing our aims on the Eastern front depends first on the realization of this internal strategic objective. The transformation of the political and economic structure, so as to enable the realization of these strategic aims, is the key to achieving the entire change. We need to change from a centralized economy in which the government is extensively involved, to an open and free market as well as to switch from depending upon the U.S. taxpayer to developing, with our own hands, of a genuine productive economic infrastructure. If we are not able to make this change freely and voluntarily, we shall be forced into it by world developments, especially in the areas of economics, energy, and politics, and by our own growing isolation. l9

30

From a military and strategic point of view, the West led by the U.S. is unable to withstand the global pressures of the USSR throughout the world, and Israel must therefore stand alone in the Eighties, without any foreign assistance, military or economic, and this is within our capacities today, with no compromises. 20 Rapid changes in the world will also bring about a change in the condition of world Jewry to which Israel will become not only a last resort but the only existential option. We cannot assume that U.S. Jews, and the communities of Europe and Latin America will continue to exist in the present form in the future. 21

31

Our existence in this country itself is certain, and there is no force that could remove us from here either forcefully or by treachery (Sadat’s method). Despite the difficulties of the mistaken “peace” policy and the problem of the Israeli Arabs and those of the territories, we can effectively deal with these problems in the foreseeable future.

Conclusion

1

Three important points have to be clarified in order to be able to understand the significant possibilities of realization of this Zionist plan for the Middle East, and also why it had to be published.

2

The Military Background of The Plan

The military conditions of this plan have not been mentioned above, but on the many occasions where something very like it is being “explained” in closed meetings to members of the Israeli Establishment, this point is clarified. It is assumed that the Israeli military forces, in all their branches, are insufficient for the actual work of occupation of such wide territories as discussed above. In fact, even in times of intense Palestinian “unrest” on the West Bank, the forces of the Israeli Army are stretched out too much. The answer to that is the method of ruling by means of “Haddad forces” or of “Village Associations” (also known as “Village Leagues”): local forces under “leaders” completely dissociated from the population, not having even any feudal or party structure (such as the Phalangists have, for example). The “states” proposed by Yinon are “Haddadland” and “Village Associations,” and their armed forces will be, no doubt, quite similar. In addition, Israeli military superiority in such a situation will be much greater than it is even now, so that any movement of revolt will be “punished” either by mass humiliation as in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or by bombardment and obliteration of cities, as in Lebanon now (June 1982), or by both. In order to ensure this, the plan, as explained orally, calls for the establishment of Israeli garrisons in focal places between the mini states, equipped with the necessary mobile destructive forces. In fact, we have seen something like this in Haddadland and we will almost certainly soon see the first example of this system functioning either in South Lebanon or in all Lebanon.

3

It is obvious that the above military assumptions, and the whole plan too, depend also on the Arabs continuing to be even more divided than they are now, and on the lack of any truly progressive mass movement among them. It may be that those two conditions will be removed only when the plan will be well advanced, with consequences which can not be foreseen.

4

Why it is necessary to publish this in Israel?

The reason for publication is the dual nature of the Israeli-Jewish society: A very great measure of freedom and democracy, specially for Jews, combined with expansionism and racist discrimination. In such a situation the Israeli-Jewish elite (for the masses follow the TV and Begin’s speeches) has to be persuaded. The first steps in the process of persuasion are oral, as indicated above, but a time comes inwhich it becomes inconvenient. Written material must be produced for the benefit of the more stupid “persuaders” and “explainers” (for example medium-rank officers, who are, usually, remarkably stupid). They then “learn it,” more or less, and preach to others. It should be remarked that Israel, and even the Yishuv from the Twenties, has always functioned in this way. I myself well remember how (before I was “in opposition”) the necessity of war with was explained to me and others a year before the 1956 war, and the necessity of conquering “the rest of Western Palestine when we will have the opportunity” was explained in the years 1965-67.

5

Why is it assumed that there is no special risk from the outside in the publication of such plans?

Such risks can come from two sources, so long as the principled opposition inside Israel is very weak (a situation which may change as a consequence of the war on Lebanon) : The Arab World, including the Palestinians, and the United States. The Arab World has shown itself so far quite incapable of a detailed and rational analysis of Israeli-Jewish society, and the Palestinians have been, on the average, no better than the rest. In such a situation, even those who are shouting about the dangers of Israeli expansionism (which are real enough) are doing this not because of factual and detailed knowledge, but because of belief in myth. A good example is the very persistent belief in the non-existent writing on the wall of the Knesset of the Biblical verse about the Nile and the Euphrates. Another example is the persistent, and completely false declarations, which were made by some of the most important Arab leaders, that the two blue stripes of the Israeli flag symbolize the Nile and the Euphrates, while in fact they are taken from the stripes of the Jewish praying shawl (Talit). The Israeli specialists assume that, on the whole, the Arabs will pay no attention to their serious discussions of the future, and the Lebanon war has proved them right. So why should they not continue with their old methods of persuading other Israelis?

6

In the United States a very similar situation exists, at least until now. The more or less serious commentators take their information about Israel, and much of their opinions about it, from two sources. The first is from articles in the “liberal” American press, written almost totally by Jewish admirers of Israel who, even if they are critical of some aspects of the Israeli state, practice loyally what Stalin used to call “the constructive criticism.” (In fact those among them who claim also to be “Anti-Stalinist” are in reality more Stalinist than Stalin, with Israel being their god which has not yet failed). In the framework of such critical worship it must be assumed that Israel has always “good intentions” and only “makes mistakes,” and therefore such a plan would not be a matter for discussion–exactly as the Biblical genocides committed by Jews are not mentioned. The other source of information, The Jerusalem Post, has similar policies. So long, therefore, as the situation exists in which Israel is really a “closed society” to the rest of the world, because the world wants to close its eyes, the publication and even the beginning of the realization of such a plan is realistic and feasible.

Israel Shahak

June 17, 1982 Jerusalem

About the Translator

Israel Shahak is a professor of organic chemistly at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights. He published The Shahak Papers, collections of key articles from the Hebrew press, and is the author of numerous articles and books, among them Non-Jewin the Jewish State. His latest book is Israel’s Global Role: Weapons for Repression, published by the AAUG in 1982. Israel Shahak: (1933-2001)

Notes

 1. American Universities Field Staff. Report No.33, 1979. According to this research, the population of the world will be 6 billion in the year 2000. Today’s world population can be broken down as follows: China, 958 million; India, 635 million; USSR, 261 million; U.S., 218 million Indonesia, 140 million; Brazil and Japan, 110 million each. According to the figures of the U.N. Population Fund for 1980, there will be, in 2000, 50 cities with a population of over 5 million each. The population ofthp;Third World will then be 80% of the world population. According to Justin Blackwelder, U.S. Census Office chief, the world population will not reach 6 billion because of hunger.

 2. Soviet nuclear policy has been well summarized by two American Sovietologists: Joseph D. Douglas and Amoretta M. Hoeber, Soviet Strategy for Nuclear War, (Stanford, Ca., Hoover Inst. Press, 1979). In the Soviet Union tens and hundreds of articles and books are published each year which detail the Soviet doctrine for nuclear war and there is a great deal of documentation translated into English and published by the U.S. Air Force,including USAF: Marxism-Leninism on War and the Army: The Soviet View, Moscow, 1972; USAF: The Armed Forces of the Soviet State. Moscow, 1975, by Marshal A. Grechko. The basic Soviet approach to the matter is presented in thebook by Marshal Sokolovski published in 1962 in Moscow: Marshal V. D. Sokolovski, Military Strategy, Soviet Doctrine and Concepts(New York, Praeger, 1963).

 3. A picture of Soviet intentions in various areas of the world can be drawn from the book by Douglas and Hoeber, ibid. For additional material see: Michael Morgan, “USSR’s Minerals as Strategic Weapon in the Future,” Defense and Foreign Affairs, Washington, D.C., Dec. 1979.

 4. Admiral of the Fleet Sergei Gorshkov, Sea Power and the State, London, 1979. Morgan, loc. cit. General George S. Brown (USAF) C-JCS, Statement to the Congress on the Defense Posture of the United States For Fiscal Year 1979, p. 103; National Security Council, Review of Non-Fuel Mineral Policy, (Washington, D.C. 1979,); DrewMiddleton, The New York Times, (9/15/79); Time, 9/21/80.

 5. Elie Kedourie, “The End of the Ottoman Empire,” Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 3, No.4, 1968.

 6. Al-Thawra, Syria 12/20/79, Al-Ahram,12/30/79, Al Ba’ath, Syria, 5/6/79. 55% of the Arabs are 20 years old and younger, 70% of the Arabs live in Africa, 55% of the Arabs under 15 are unemployed, 33% live in urban areas, Oded Yinon, “Egypt’s Population Problem,” The Jerusalem Quarterly, No. 15, Spring 1980.

 7. E. Kanovsky, “Arab Haves and Have Nots,” The Jerusalem Quarterly, No.1, Fall 1976, Al Ba’ath, Syria, 5/6/79.

 8. In his book, former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that the Israeli government is in fact responsible for the design of American policy in the Middle East, after June ’67, because of its own indecisiveness as to the future of the territories and the inconsistency in its positions since it established the background for Resolution 242 and certainly twelve years later for the Camp David agreements and the peace treaty with Egypt. According to Rabin, on June 19, 1967, President Johnson sent a letter to Prime Minister Eshkol in which he did not mention anything about withdrawal from the new territories but exactly on the same day the government resolved to return territories in exchange for peace. After the Arab resolutions in Khartoum (9/1/67) the government altered its position but contrary to its decision of June 19, did not notify the U.S. of the alteration and the U.S. continued to support 242 in the Security Council on the basis of its earlier understanding that Israel is prepared to return territories. At that point it was already too late to change the U.S. position and Israel’s policy. From here the way was opened to peace agreements on the basis of 242 as was later agreed upon in Camp David. See Yitzhak Rabin. Pinkas Sherut, (Ma’ariv 1979) pp. 226-227.

 9. Foreign and Defense Committee Chairman Prof. Moshe Arens argued in an interview (Ma ‘ariv,10/3/80) that the Israeli government failed to prepare an economic plan before the Camp David agreements and was itself surprised by the cost of the agreements, although already during the negotiations it was possible to calculate the heavy price and the serious error involved in not having prepared the economic grounds for peace.

The former Minister of Treasury, Mr. Yigal Holwitz, stated that if it were not for the withdrawal from the oil fields, Israel would have a positive balance of payments (9/17/80). That same person said two years earlier that the government of Israel (from which he withdrew) had placed a noose around his neck. He was referring to the Camp David agreements (Ha’aretz, 11/3/78). In the course of the whole peace negotiations neither an expert nor an economics advisor was consulted, and the Prime Minister himself, who lacks knowledge and expertise in economics, in a mistaken initiative, asked the U.S. to give us a loan rather than a grant, due to his wish to maintain our respect and the respect of the U.S. towards us. See Ha’aretz1/5/79. Jerusalem Post, 9/7/79. Prof Asaf Razin, formerly a senior consultant in the Treasury, strongly criticized the conduct of the negotiations; Ha’aretz, 5/5/79. Ma’ariv, 9/7/79. As to matters concerning the oil fields and Israel’s energy crisis, see the interview with Mr. EitanEisenberg, a government advisor on these matters, Ma’arive Weekly, 12/12/78. The Energy Minister, who personally signed the Camp David agreements and the evacuation of Sdeh Alma, has since emphasized the seriousness of our condition from the point of view of oil supplies more than once…see Yediot Ahronot, 7/20/79. Energy Minister Modai even admitted that the government did not consult him at all on the subject of oil during the Camp David and Blair House negotiations. Ha’aretz, 8/22/79.

 10. Many sources report on the growth of the armaments budget in Egypt and on intentions to give the army preference in a peace epoch budget over domestic needs for which a peace was allegedly obtained. See former Prime Minister Mamduh Salam in an interview 12/18/77, Treasury Minister Abd El Sayeh in an interview 7/25/78, and the paper Al Akhbar, 12/2/78 which clearly stressed that the military budget will receive first priority, despite the peace. This is what former Prime Minister Mustafa Khalil has stated in his cabinet’s programmatic document which was presented to Parliament, 11/25/78. See English translation, ICA, FBIS, Nov. 27. 1978, pp. D 1-10.

According to these sources, Egypt’s military budget increased by 10% between fiscal 1977 and 1978, and the process still goes on. A Saudi source divulged that the Egyptians plan to increase their militmy budget by 100% in the next two years; Ha’aretz, 2/12/79 and Jerusalem Post, 1/14/79.

 11. Most of the economic estimates threw doubt on Egypt’s ability to reconstruct its economy by 1982. See Economic Intelligence Unit, 1978 Supplement, “The Arab Republic of Egypt”; E. Kanovsky, “Recent EconomicDevelopments in the Middle East,” Occasional Papers, The Shiloah Institution, June 1977; Kanovsky, “The Egyptian Economy Since the Mid-Sixties, The Micro Sectors,” Occasional Papers, June 1978; Robert McNamara, President of World Bank, as reported in Times, London, 1/24/78.

 12. See the comparison made by the researeh of the Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and research camed out in the Center for Strategic Studies of Tel Aviv University, as well as the research by the British scientist, Denis Champlin, Military Review, Nov. 1979, ISS: The Military Balance 1979-1980, CSS; Security Arrangements in Sinai…by Brig. Gen. (Res.) A Shalev, No. 3.0 CSS; The Military Balance and the Military Options after the Peace Treaty with Egypt, by Brig. Gen. (Res.) Y. Raviv, No.4, Dec. 1978, as well as many press reports including El Hawadeth, London, 3/7/80; El Watan El Arabi, Paris, 12/14/79.

 13. As for religious ferment in Egypt and the relations between Copts and Moslems see the series of articles published in the Kuwaiti paper, El Qabas, 9/15/80. The English author Irene Beeson reports on the rift between Moslems and Copts, see: Irene Beeson, Guardian, London, 6/24/80, and Desmond Stewart, Middle East Internmational, London 6/6/80. For other reports see Pamela Ann Smith, Guardian, London, 12/24/79; The Christian Science Monitor 12/27/79 as well as Al Dustour, London, 10/15/79; El Kefah El Arabi, 10/15/79.

 14. Arab Press Service, Beirut, 8/6-13/80. The New Republic, 8/16/80, Der Spiegel as cited by Ha’aretz, 3/21/80, and 4/30-5/5/80; The Economist, 3/22/80; Robert Fisk, Times, London, 3/26/80; Ellsworth Jones, Sunday Times, 3/30/80.

 15.  J.P.  Peroncell  Hugoz,  Le  Monde,  Paris  4/28/80;  Dr.  Abbas  Kelidar,  Middle  East  Review,  Summer  1979;

Conflict Studies, ISS, July 1975; Andreas Kolschitter, Der Zeit, (Ha’aretz, 9/21/79) Economist Foreign Report,10/10/79, Afro-Asian Affairs, London, July 1979.

 16. Arnold Hottinger, “The Rich Arab States in Trouble,” The New York Review of Books, 5/15/80; Arab Press Service, Beirut, 6/25-7/2/80; U.S. News and World Report, 11/5/79 as well as El Ahram, 11/9/79; El Nahar El Arabi Wal Duwali, Paris 9/7/79; El Hawadeth, 11/9/79; David Hakham, Monthly Review, IDF, Jan.-Feb. 79.

 17. As for Jordan’s policies and problems see El Nahar El Arabi Wal Duwali, 4/30/79, 7/2/79; Prof. Elie Kedouri, Ma’ariv 6/8/79; Prof. Tanter, Davar 7/12/79; A. Safdi, Jerusalem Post, 5/31/79; El Watan El Arabi 11/28/79; El Qabas, 11/19/79. As for PLO positions see: The resolutions of the Fatah Fourth Congress, Damascus, August 1980.The Shefa’amr program of the Israeli Arabs was published in Ha’aretz, 9/24/80, and by Arab Press Report 6/18/80. For facts and figures on immigration of Arabs to Jordan, see Amos Ben Vered, Ha’aretz, 2/16/77; Yossef Zuriel, Ma’ariv 1/12/80. As to the PLO’s position towards Israel see Shlomo Gazit, Monthly Review; July 1980; Hani ElHasan in an interview, Al Rai Al’Am, Kuwait 4/15/80; Avi Plaskov, “The Palestinian Problem,” Survival, ISS, London Jan. Feb. 78; David Gutrnann, “The Palestinian Myth,” Commentary, Oct. 75; Bernard Lewis, “The Palestinians and the PLO,” Commentary Jan. 75; Monday Morning, Beirut, 8/18-21/80; Journal of Palestine Studies, Winter 1980.

 18. Prof. Yuval Neeman, “Samaria–The Basis for Israel’s Security,” Ma’arakhot 272-273, May/June 1980; Ya’akov Hasdai, “Peace, the Way and the Right to Know,” Dvar Hashavua, 2/23/80. Aharon Yariv, “Strategic Depth–An Israeli Perspective,” Ma’arakhot 270-271, October 1979; Yitzhak Rabin, “Israel’s Defense Problems in the Eighties,” Ma’arakhot October 1979.

 19. Ezra Zohar, In the Regime’s Pliers (Shikmona, 1974); Motti Heinrich, Do We have a Chance Israel, Truth Versus Legend (Reshafim, 1981).

 20. Henry Kissinger, “The Lessons of the Past,” The Washington Review Vol 1, Jan. 1978; Arthur Ross, “OPEC’s Challenge to the West,” The Washington Quarterly, Winter, 1980; Walter Levy, “Oil and the Decline of the West,” Foreign Affairs, Summer 1980; Special Report–”Our Armed Forees-Ready or Not?” U.S. News and World Report 10/10/77; Stanley Hoffman, “Reflections on the Present Danger,” The New York Review of Books 3/6/80; Time 4/3/80; Leopold Lavedez “The illusions of SALT” Commentary Sept. 79; Norman Podhoretz, “The Present Danger,” Commentary March 1980; Robert Tucker, “Oil and American Power Six Years Later,” Commentary Sept. 1979; Norman Podhoretz, “The Abandonment of Israel,” Commentary July 1976; Elie Kedourie, “Misreading the Middle East,” Commentary July 1979.

 21. According to figures published by Ya’akov Karoz, Yediot Ahronot, 10/17/80, the sum total of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the world in 1979 was double the amount recorded in 1978. In Germany, France, and Britain the number of anti-Semitic incidents was many times greater in that year. In the U.S. as well there has been a sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents which were reported in that article. For the new anti-Semitism, see L. Talmon, “The New Anti-Semitism,” The New Republic, 9/18/1976; Barbara Tuchman, “They poisoned the Wells,” Newsweek 2/3/75.

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Make no mistake about it, hundred of thousands of people died brutal and senseless death because of the activities of the covert insurgency machine called the "National Endowment for Democracy." As most US sponsored political action NGO with lovely names like "Freedom House," and "USAID" these entities have nothing to do with Freedom, Aid or Democracy. They are about one thing and one thing only, aggressive covert subversion of target countries to make them weak and vulnerable to US industrial exploitation. The Following article is a good starting point to understand these global threats to freedom and democracy, these wolves in sheep's clothing.

Washington clearly wants ‘finito’ with Russia’s Putin as in basta! or as they said in Egypt last spring, Kefaya–enough!.  Hillary Clinton and friends have apparently decided Russia’s prospective next president, Vladimir Putin, is a major obstacle to their plans. Few however understand why. Russia today, in tandem with China and to a significant degree Iran, form the spine, however shaky, of the only effective global axis of resistance to a world dominated by one sole superpower.

On December 8 several days after election results for Russia’s parliamentary elections were announced, showing a sharp drop in popularity for Prime Minister Putin’s United Russia party, Putin accused the United States and specifically Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of fueling the Russian opposition protesters and their election protests. Putin stated, “The (US) Secretary of State was quick to evaluate the elections, saying that they are unfair and unjust even before she received materials from the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (the OSCE international election monitors-w.e.) observers.”[1]

Putin went on to claim that Clinton’s premature comments were the necessary signal to the waiting opposition groups that the US Government would back their protests. Clinton’s comments, the seasoned Russian intelligence pro stated, became a “signal for our activists who began active work with the US Department of State.” [2]

Major western media chose either to downplay the Putin statement or to focus almost entirely on the claims of an emerging Russian opposition movement. A little research shows that, if anything, Putin was downplaying the degree of brazen US Government interference into the political processes of  his country. In this case the country is not Tunisia or Yemen or even Egypt. It is the world’s second nuclear superpower, even if it might still be an economic lesser power. Hillary is playing with thermonuclear fire.
Democracy or something else?

No mistake, Putin is not a world champion practitioner of what most consider democracy. His announcement some months back that he and current President Medvedev had agreed to switch jobs after Russia’s March 4 Presidential vote struck even many Russians as crass power politics and backroom deal-making. That being said, what Washington is doing to interfere with that regime change is more than brazen and interventionist. The same Obama Administration which just signed into law measures effectively ripping to shreds the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution for American citizens[3] is posing as world supreme judge of others’ adherence to what they define as democracy.

Let’s examine closely Putin’s charge of US interference in the election process. If we look, we find openly stated in their August 2011 Annual Report that a Washington-based NGO with the innocuous name, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), is all over the place inside Russia.

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is financing an International Press Center in Moscow where some 80 international NGOs can hold press briefings on whatever they choose. They fund numerous “youth advocacy” and leadership workshops to “help youth engage in political activism.” In fact, officially they spent more than $2,783,000 in 2010 on dozens of such programs across Russia. Spending for 2011 won’t be published until later in 2012. [4]

The NED is also financing key parts of the Russian “independent” polling and election monitoring, a crucial part of being able to claim election fraud. They finance in part the Regional Civic Organization in Defense of Democratic Rights and Liberties “GOLOS.” According to the NED Annual Report the funds went “to carry out a detailed analysis of the autumn 2010 and spring 2011 election cycles in Russia, which will include press monitoring, monitoring of political agitation, activity of electoral commissions, and other aspects of the application of electoral legislation in the long-term run-up to the elections.”[5]

In September, 2011, a few weeks before the December elections the NED financed a Washington invitation-only conference featuring the Russian “independent” polling organization, the Levada Center. According to NED’s own website Levada, another recipient of NED money, [6] had done a series of opinion polls, a standard method used in the West to analyze the feelings of citizens. The polls profiled “the mood of the electorate in the run up to the Duma and presidential elections, perceptions of candidates and parties, and voter confidence in the system of ‘managed democracy’ that has been established over the last decade.”

One of the featured speakers at that Washington conference was Vladimir Kara-Murza, member of the federal council of Solidarnost (“Solidarity”), Russia’s democratic opposition movement. He is also “advisor to Duma opposition leader Boris Nemtsov” according to NED. Another speaker came from the right-wing neo-conservative Hudson Institute. [7]

Nemtsov, one of the most prominent figures of the Putin opposition today is also co-chairman of Solidarnost, a name curiously enough imitated from the Cold War days when the CIA financed the Polish Solidarnosc workers’ opposition of Lech Walesa. More on Nemtsov later.

And on December 15, 2011, again in Washington, just as the series of US-supported protests were being launched against Putin, led by Solidarnost and other organizations, the NED held another conference titled, Youth Activism in Russia: Can a New Generation Make a Difference? The featured speaker was Tamirlan Kurbanov, who according to the NED, “most recently served as a program officer at the Moscow office of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, where he was involved in developing and expanding the capacities of political and civic organizations; promoting citizen participation in public life, youth engagement in particular.” [8] The National Democratic Institute is an arm of the NED.
 

 

Image: A visual representation of the corporate-financier interests represented on the National Endowment for Democracy's (NED) board of directors. NDItech falls under the umbrella of NED. While NED and NDItech pose as fighting for "democracy," their corporate-financier interests lie poorly disguised just beneath the surface. Surely Goldman Sachs, Exxon, and the SOPA-sponsoring US Chamber of Commerce don't care about democracy or freedom - on the Internet or elsewhere.

The Shady History of The National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

Helping youth engage in political activism is precisely what the same NED did in Egypt over the past several years in the lead up to the toppling of Mubarak. The same NED was instrumental by informed accounts in the US-backed “Color Revolutions” in 2003-2004 in Ukraine and Georgia that brought US-backed pro-NATO surrogates to power. The same NED has been active in promoting “human rights” in Myanmar, in Tibet, and China’s oil-rich Xinjiang province. [9] 

As careful analysts of the 2004 Ukraine “Orange revolution” and the numerous other US-financed color revolutions discovered, control of polling and ability to dominate international media perceptions, especially major TV such as CNN or BBC is an essential component of the Washington destabilization agenda. The Levada Center would likely be in a crucial position in this regard to issue polls showing discontent with the regime.

By their description, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a “private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, with funding from the US Congress, NED supports more than 1,000 projects of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals in more than 90 countries.”[10]

It couldn’t sound more noble or high-minded. However, they prefer to leave out their own true history. In the early 1980’s CIA director Bill Casey convinced President Ronald Reagan to create a plausibly private NGO, the NED, to advance Washington’s global agenda via other means than direct CIA action. It was a part of the process of “privatizing” US intelligence to make their work more “effective.” Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, said in a Washington Post interview in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”[11] Interesting. The majority of funds for NED come from US taxpayers through Congress. It is in every way, shape and form a US Government intelligence community asset.

The NED was created during the Reagan Administration to function as a de facto CIA, privatized so as to allow it more freedom of action. NED board members are typically drawn from the Pentagon and US intelligence community. It has included retired NATO General Wesley Clark, the man who led the US bombing of Serbia in 1999. Key figures linked to clandestine CIA actions who served on NED’s board have included Otto Reich, John Negroponte, Henry Cisneros and Elliot Abrams. The Chairman of the NED Board of Directors in 2008 was Vin Weber, founder of the ultraconservative organization, Empower America, and campaign fundraiser for George W. Bush. Current NED chairman is John Bohn, former CEO of the controversial Moody’s rating agency which played a nefarious role in the still-unraveling US mortgage securities collapse. As well today’s NED board includes neo-conservative Bush-era ambassador to Iraq and to Afghanistan, Afghan-American Zalmay Khalilzad.[12]
Putin’s well-rehearsed opposition

It’s also instructive to look at the leading opposition figures who seem to have stepped forward in Russia in recent days. The current opposition “poster boy” favorite of Russian youth and especially western media is Russian blogger Alexei Navalny whose blog is titled LiveJournal. Navalny has featured prominently as a quasi-martyr of the protest movement after spending 15 days in Putin’s jail for partaking in a banned protest. At a large protest rally on Christmas Day December 25 in Moscow, Navalny, perhaps intoxicated by seeing too many romantic Sergei Eisenstein films of the 1917 Russian Revolution, told the crowd, “I see enough people here to take the Kremlin and the White House (Russia’s Presidential home-w.e.) right now…”[13]

Western establishment media is infatuated with Navalny. England’s BBC  described Navalny as “arguably the only major opposition figure to emerge in Russia in the past five years,” and US Time magazine called him “Russia’s Erin Brockovich,” a curious reference to the Hollywood film starring Julie Roberts as a researcher and legal activist. However, more relevant is the fact that Navalny went to the elite American East Coast Yale University, also home to the Bush family, where he was a “Yale World Fellow.” [14] 

The charismatic Navalny however is also or has been on the payroll of Washington’s regime-destabilizing National Endowment for Democracy (NED). According to a posting on Navalny’s own blog, LiveJournal, he was supported in 2007-2008 by the NED. [15] [16]

Along with Navalny, key actors in the anti-Putin protest movement are centered around Solidarnost which was created in December 2008 by Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and others. Nemtsov is hardly one to protest corruption. According to Business Week Russia of September 23, 2007, Nemtsov introduced Russian banker Boris Brevnov to Gretchen Wilson, a US citizen and an employee of the International Finance Corporation, a financing arm of the World Bank. Wilson and Brevnov married. With the help of Nemtsov Wilson managed to privatize Balakhna Pulp and Paper mill at the giveaway price of just $7 million. The enterprise was sucked dry and then sold to the Wall Street-Swiss investment bank, CS First Boston bank. The annual turnover of the mill was reportedly $250 million. [17]
CS First Boston bank also paid for Nemtsov’s trips to the very expensive Davos World Economic Forum. When Nemtsov became a member of the cabinet, his protégé Brevnov was appointed the chairman of the Unified Energy System of Russia JSC. Two years later in 2009 Boris Nemtsov, today’s “Mr anti-corruption,” used his influence reportedly to get Brevnov off the hook for charges of embezzling billions from assets of Unified Energy System. [18]

Nemtsov also took money from jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 1999 when the latter was using his billions to try to buy the Russian parliament or Duma. In 2004 Nemtsov met with exiled billionaire oligarch Boris Berezovsky in a secret gathering with other exiled Russian tycoons. When Nemtsov was detailed by Russian authorities for allegations of foreign funding of his new political party, “For Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption,”  US Senators John McCain and Joe Liberman and Mike Hammer of the Obama National Security Council came to support of Nemtsov. [19]

Nemtsov’s close crony, Vladimir Ryzhkov of Solidarnost is also closely tied to the Swiss Davos circles, even founding a Siberian Davos. According to Russian press accounts from April 2005, Ryzhkov formed a Committee 2008 in 2003 to “draw” funds of the imprisoned Khodorkovsky along with soliciting funds from fugitive oligarchs such as Boris Berezovsky and western foundations such as the Soros Foundation. The stated aim of the effort was to rally “democratic” forces against Putin. On May 23, 2011 Ryzhkov, Nemtzov and several others filed to register a new Party of Peoples’ Freedom to ostensibly field a presidential candidate against Putin in 2012.[20] 

Another prominent face in the recent anti-Putin rallies is former world chess champion turned right-wing politician, Garry Kasparov, another founder of Solidarnost. Kasparov was identified several years ago as being a board member of a Washington neo-conservative military think-tank. In April 2007, Kasparov admitted he was a board member of the National Security Advisory Council of Center for Security Policy, a “non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security.” Inside Russia Kasparov is more infamous for his earlier financial ties to Leonid Nevzlin, former Yukos vice-president and partner of Michael Khodorokvsky. Nevzlin fled to Israel on being charged in Russia on charges of murder and hiring contract killers to eliminate “objectionable people” while Yukos vice-president. [21]

In 2009 Kasparov and Boris Nemtsov met with no less than Barack Obama to discuss Russia’s opposition to Putin at the US President’s personal invitation at Washington’s Ritz Carlton Hotel. Nemtsov had called for Obama to meet with opposition forces in Russia: “If the White House agrees to Putin’s suggestion to speak only with pro-Putin organizations… this will mean that Putin has won, but not only that: Putin will become be assured that Obama is weak,” he said. During the same 2009 US trip Nemtsov was invited to speak at the New York Council on Foreign Relations, perhaps the most influential US foreign policy think-tank. Significantly, not only has the US State Department and US-backed political NGOs such as NED poured millions into building an anti-Putin coalition inside Russia. The President personally has intervened into the process.[22]

Ryzhkov, Nemtzov, Navalty and Putin’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin were all involved in organizing the December 25th Moscow Christmas anti-Putin rally which drew an estimated 120,000.[23]
Why Putin?

The salient question is why Putin at this point? We need not look far for the answer.

Washington and especially Barack Obama’s Administration don’t give a hoot about whether Russia is democratic or not. Their concern is the obstacle to Washington’s plans for Full Spectrum Dominance of the planet that a Putin Presidency will represent. According to the Russian Constitution, the President of the Russian Federation head of state, supreme commander-in-chief and holder of the highest office in the Russian Federation. He will take direct control of defense and foreign policy.

We must ask what policy? Clearly strong countermeasures against the blatant NATO encirclement of Russia with Washington’s dangerous ballistic missile installations around Russia will be high on Putin’s agenda. Hillary Clinton’s “reset” will be in the dustbin if it is not already. We can also expect a more aggressive use of Russia’s energy card with pipeline diplomacy to deepen economic ties between European NATO members such as Germany, France and Italy, ultimately weakening the EU support for aggressive NATO measures against Russia. We can expect a deepening of Russia’s turn towards Eurasia, especially with China, Iran and perhaps India to firm up the shaky spine of resistance to Washington’s New World Order plans.

It will take more than a few demonstrations in sub-freezing weather in Moscow and St. Petersburg by a gaggle of corrupt or shady opposition figures such as Nemtsov or  Kasparov to derail Russia. What is clear is that Washington is pushing on all fronts—Iran and Syria, where Russia has a vital naval port, on China, now on Russia, and on the Eurozone countries led by Germany. It has the smell of an end-game attempt by a declining superpower.

The United States today is a de facto bankrupt nuclear superpower.  The reserve currency role of the dollar is being challenged as never since Bretton Woods in 1944. That role along with maintaining the United States as the world’s unchallenged military power have been the basis of the American Century hegemony since 1945.

Weakening the role of the dollar in international trade and ultimately as reserve currency, China is now settling trade with Japan in bilateral currencies, side-stepping the dollar. Russia is implementing similar steps with her major trade partners. The primary reason Washington launched a full-scale currency war against the Euro in late 2009 was to preempt a growing threat that China and others would turn away from the dollar to the Euro as reserve currency. That is no small matter. In effect Washington finances its foreign wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and elsewhere through the fact that China and other trade surplus nations invest their surplus trade dollars in US government Treasury debt. Were that to shift significantly, US interest rates would rise substantially and the financial pressures on Washington would become immense.

Faced with growing erosion of her unchallenged global status as sole superpower, Washington appears now to be turning increasingly to raw military force to hold that. For that to succeed Russia must be neutralized along with China and Iran. This will be the prime agenda of whoever is next US President.     

F. William Engdahl is the author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, He may be reached via his website at www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net 

Notes

[1] Alexei Druzhinin, Putin says US encouraging Russian opposition, RIA Novosti, Moscow, December 8, 2011
[2] Ibid.
[3] Jonathan Turley, The NDAA’s historic assault on American liberty, guardian.co.uk, 2 January 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/02/ndaa-historic-assault-american-liberty.
[4] National Endowment for Democracy, Russia, from NED Annual Report 2010, Washington, DC, published in August 2011, accessed in http://www.ned.org/where-we-work/eurasia/russia.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] NED, Elections in Russia: Polling and Perspectives, September 14, 2011, accessed in http://ned.org/events/elections-in-russia-polling-and-perspectives.
[8] NED, Youth Activism in Russia: Can a New Generation Make a Difference?, December 15, 2011, accessed in http://ned.org/events/youth-activism-in-russia-can-a-new-generation-make-a-difference.
[9] F. William Engdahl, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, 2010, edition. Engdahl press. The book describes in detail the origins of the NED and various US-sponsored “human rights” NGOs and how they have been used to topple regimes not friendly to a larger USA geopolitical agenda.
[10] National Endowment for Democracy, About Us, accessed in www.ned.org.
[11] David Ignatius, Openness is the Secret to Democracy, Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 30 September-6 October,1991, 24-25.
[12] F. William Engdahl, Op. Cit., p.50.
[13] Yulia Ponomareva, Navalny and Kudrin boost giant opposition rally, RIA Novosti, Moscow, December 25, 2011.
[14] Yale University, Yale World Fellows: Alexey Navalny, 2010, accessed in http://www.yale.edu/worldfellows/fellows/navalny.html.
[15] Alexey Navalny, emails between Navalny and Conatser, accessed in Russian (English summary provided to the author by www.warandpeace.ru) on http://alansalbiev.livejournal.com/28124.html.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Business Week Russia, Boris Nemtsov: Co-chairman of Solidarnost political movement, Business Week Russia, September 23, 2007, accessed in http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1648.
[18] Ibid.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Russian Mafia.ru, Vladimir Ryzhkov: Co-chairman of the Party of People’s Freedom, accessed in http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1713.
[21] Russian Mafia.ru, Garry Kasparov: The leader of United Civil Front, accessed in http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1518.
[22] The OtherRussia, Obama Will Meet With Russian Opposition, July 3, 2009, accessed in http://www.theotherrussia.org/2009/07/03/obama-will-meet-with-russian-opposition/.
[23] Yulia Ponomareva, op. Cit.
 

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The official version is as usual - pure propaganda. In this interview Vox unveils the real story behind the latest crisis between the USA and Russia over the "revolution" in the Ukraine. It's a story of propaganda, real life fascism and whole populations being tricked into "believing" an official story which bears no similarity to reality.

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This excellent documentary outlines Western involvement in sponsoring terrorist groups and individual terrorists to destabilize Indonesia and drive it further into the sphere of US military control. 

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All US imperialist insurgencies abroad include in their media strategy the now ubiquitous "unconfirmed rape story," designed to solidify support for the effort at home and to demonize the target of the aggression. It is part of what voxnews calls, "Soft Insurgency." (the psychological aspects of asserting imperial hegemony as opposed to the brute employment of military might.)

 

The ever present "unconfirmed report" disclaimer now accompanies most broadcasts from the networks. It seems that the credibility of the mainstream networks is so shaky that not even they stand by the rubbish they're pushing. So to "prove" their most ridiculous assertions, they rely on the tried and true "uncomfirmed unverified report." - vox

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With mounting evidence of militant atrocities and an increasing al-Qaeda infiltration into the ranks of the armed opposition, many of those who initially wanted reforms in Syria may be asking themselves whether they can trust the foreign-backed militarized opposition.

 

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For those researchers of the players of 911, this fast moving video names the names of the criminals involved in the planning and execution of the technical aspects of the inside job called 911. For those who have been watching TV all these years, and not following this issue, this video is a great starting point to further familiarize yourself with the criminal players in the US establishment who pulled off the biggest crime of the century.

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IRAN (Is Not The Problem) is a feature length documentary film responding to the failure of the American mass media to provide the public with relevant and accurate information about the standoff between the US and Iran, as happened before with the lead up to the invasion of Iraq.

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This "Revolution" was planned in Washington ten years ago. The NATO-led aggression on Libya and the CIA staged coup attempts in Syria are both steps in a decades-long plan by the US and its allies to completely reshape the face of Africa. An interview with French intellectual and journalist Thiery Meyssan.
 

 "It’s quite obvious that the USA wanted to enter war at the same time with Libya and Syria. That wish was made public by John Bolton in 2002. The plan was passed over to France and Britain, who decided to bring it to life in November last year,”

What is called public uprising of the free-loving people are actually coup attempts staged by the Western nations, Meyssan says.

The operation in Libya in particular is marked by an astounding number of lies fed to the public, he added.

“By the time of the UN Security Council vote everyone had decided on the basis of reports submitted to the council. And the Security Council was certain that during the demonstrations in Benghazi the government killed 6,000 citizens – a terrible number. But now five months later the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, which accused the Libyan leadership, has reduced the number… Now the prosecutor is building up his evidence on 208 victims instead of 6,000,” he pointed out.



In another example, footage was circulated by foreign TV channels allegedly showing Gaddafi’s soldiers raping women in retribution for the uprising. The video later turned out to be a rare Libyan amateur porn flick, Meyssan said. The lies are meant to hide what the West wants to do in the region, the journalist believes.

“NATO keeps lying at every stage, which is surprising, because during the war in Kosovo NATO would normally lie only to conceal its mistakes. This time it’s being done not to conceal the mistakes, but to conceal the strategy,” he told RT.

The initial plan to overthrow the government in Tripoli has now obviously failed, so now the strategy has changed, the journalist believes.

“Western TV channels don’t speak of oppression and rebellion anymore, but of a civil war, thus trying to prepare public opinion for a declaration to divide the country into two parts: Cyrenaica on one side and Tripolitania on another, with the UN forces in between to separate the parties,” he said.



Civilian losses are not important for those behind this plan, Meyssan says.

“From the moment it was decided to launch this operation, the lives of civilians have not been taken into account. Everything we used to see in the Middle East is not transpiring in this region. This is just a beginning. It’s just a question of re-arrangement of this region, and we are yet to see a series of wars,” he expects.

The scenario for Syria was designed in exactly the same way as the scenario for Libya, but it went in another direction, the activist argues.

“I think some countries, Russia included, thought better of it and prevented it. That is why at the moment there is no war in Syria. Even though some Western leaders repeat every day that it is necessary to go to war,” he said.

 

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